Cape Town - The municipalities participating in the Western Cape’s initiative to move off the national power grid and develop their own power generation projects have signed memorandums of understanding.
Stakeholders in the Western Cape’s municipal energy resilience (MER) initiative have taken a crucial step towards ensuring that electricity networks are prepared to undertake pioneering renewable energy projects.
The Municipal Energy Resilience (MER) Project is aimed at strengthening the energy resilience of municipalities in the Western Cape by assisting them in taking the necessary steps to generate, procure and sell their own power.
In the 2021 Budget Address, the Finance and Economic Opportunities MEC David Maynier announced a total package of R217.83 billion over the medium term in the Western Cape, which breaks down to R72.39bn in 2021/22, R72.68 bn in 2022/23 and R72.77bn in 2023/24 in the Western Cape.
He explained over the medium term, the province will spend R48.8 million to beat load shedding in the Western Cape.
The municipalities of Stellenbosch, Drakenstein, Mossel Bay, Overstrand, Saldanha Bay and Swartland signed the MOUs and will participate in the first phase of the initiative during the current financial year, Maynier said in a statement on Thursday.
He said the signing followed an evaluation to determine which municipalities were best equipped and met the conditions required to take advantage of energy regulations to develop their own power generation projects and procure power from independent power producers (IPPs).
“We will now be supporting and assisting these municipalities to ensure that municipal electricity networks are prepared to undertake pioneering renewable energy projects,” Maynier said.
“The work will explore multiple pioneering renewable energy technologies and scales, cost options, scale of investment required, location issues, risks, municipal readiness needs, infrastructure needs, timelines to get capacity onto the grid, transaction and procurement mechanisms and regulatory issues.”
He said the province had requested information from all potential private and public sector organisations on renewable energy projects, a move which would help define the potential pioneering projects that could be implemented in the municipalities.
He said there had also been a request for information from the City of Cape Town, which the provincial government has been collaborating with for innovative funding and financing instrument solutions for the renewable energy programme.
“This request for information is aimed at development banks and multilateral development funds for projects that the city will own and operate, located on city-owned land and buildings (typically within the city distribution grid), ranging in size from less than 1MW to 100MW per project with the potential to explore larger scale projects connected to Eskom’s network,” Maynier said.
His department would continue to support municipalities and businesses in order to create a more energy resilient future for the Western Cape, Maynier added.
African News Agency (ANA)