Cape Town’s Energy Strategy: A Journey Towards a Sustainable and Reliable Future

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Cape Town’s draft Energy Strategy is a progressive roadmap for the city’s energy utility. The strategy aims to involve the government, private sector, residents, and businesses in creating a reliable, cost-effective, and carbon-neutral energy supply.

Ending Load-Shedding

Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis emphasizes that ending load-shedding is crucial for job-creating economic growth. The draft strategy outlines a plan to add 650 MW of independent power to Cape Town’s energy mix within five years, ultimately aiming for one gigawatt of independent power to eliminate the threat of blackouts completely.

Three Key Commitments

The strategy focuses on three key commitments: ending load-shedding, alleviating energy poverty, and optimizing energy use across Cape Town.

Short-Term Plans

Short-term load-shedding mitigation plans include a mix of the Steenbras Hydro Plant, 500 MW of dispatchable energy, and demand management programs such as Large Power Users (LPUs) curtailment and Power Heroes, which encourage households to remotely switch off power-hungry appliances during peak times.

Diverse Power Supply

Cape Town plans to add up to one gigawatt of independent power supply over time, with a diverse mix of sources including embedded IPP renewable energy, dispatchable energy, wheeling, private small-scale embedded generation (SSEG), and city-owned SSEG from the Atlantis plant and solar PV at city facilities.

Alleviating Energy Poverty

Alleviating energy poverty is another major goal of the draft strategy, with objectives to be achieved within the next five years. These include upholding a high electrification rate in informal settlements, grid enhancements and subsidy reform, a Free Basic Alternative Energy Policy for non-grid connected households, and piloting alternative public lighting solutions for unelectrified settlements.

Optimizing Energy Use

Plans to optimize energy use across Cape Town in the short term consist of a Municipal Services Energy Efficiency program, establishing an energy performance baseline for privately-owned buildings, supporting micro-developers in building efficient and affordable rental accommodations, commercial and residential demand management programs, and promoting the adoption of electric vehicles.

A Pathway to a Thriving Energy Economy

Councillor Beverley van Reenen, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy, states that the draft Energy Strategy offers a pathway to increase load-shedding mitigation while enabling a future-fit municipal electricity utility and a thriving local energy economy. It aims to create a competitive regional energy market, offering customers greater choice and a larger share of distributed renewable energy, supported by proactive grid maintenance.

Long-Term Intention

The city’s long-term intention is to distribute electricity directly to all customers in Cape Town, including those currently in Eskom supply areas. Talks with Eskom to resume taking over the SOE’s supply areas have stalled but are being pushed forward by Mayor Hill-Lewis for a definite timeline on resuming negotiations.

Public Comment

The draft Energy Strategy is open for public comment until July 31, 2023. To provide feedback on the draft Energy Strategy, the public can visit this link. The strategy also commits to publishing updated energy data annually on the City Open Data Portal and empowering entrepreneurs, youth, and job seekers to benefit from a growing energy sector in Cape Town.

A Russian-Spanish journalist and Cape Town native, channels his lifelong passion for South Africa into captivating stories for his local blog. With a diverse background and 50 years of rich experiences, Serjio's unique voice resonates with readers seeking to explore Cape Town's vibrant culture. His love for the city shines through in every piece, making Serjio the go-to source for the latest in South African adventures.

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