Cape Town Mayor lays out plan in Energy Digicon to end blackouts

At his fourth Energy Digicon this week, Premier Alan Winde welcomed the Executive Mayor of Cape Town Mr Geordin Hill-Lewis to explain how the City of Cape Town (CoCT) is tackling the energy crisis.

Mayor Hill-Lewis touched on several exciting initiatives the City has embarked on. “We are actively working towards ending loadshedding as aggressively as we can,” remarked the Mayor.

He outlined four ways the CoCT is tackling rolling blackouts:

  • Renewable power without battery storage – this would help ensure sufficient and cheaper power supply. 200 MWs are in the process of being purchased;
  • In the next week the CoCT will make public a tender for 500 MW of dispatchable power – this is power that is available immediately at the flick of a switch;
  • Small-scale embedded generation – to this end major policy shifts have been made at the City, namely allowing people to be net generators of energy at their homes or businesses. Excess power can be sold back to the municipality, businesses can currently do this and households will be able to do this by the end of the year. This incentive has seen a dramatic increase in solar installations in the city; and
  • The Power Heroes initiative – where residents are rewarded for reducing their power use.

Special Advisor to the Premier on Energy Mr Alwie Lester also gave an update on the implementation of the Western Cape Government’s (WCG) Energy Resilience Programme. He focused on the New Energy Generation Programme (NEGP) aspect of the plan, which looks at the following interventions:

  • A focus on public spaces, specifically schools – 100 schools will be identified provincewide to be fitted with solar power systems that are linked to battery and inverter systems to ensure learners are not disadvantaged during school hours;
  • Identifying 4 or 5 towns in the province to be taken off the grid, to make them as independent as possible from Eskom in the coming months. This will be done through mobile containerized PV battery units which can tap between 1 MW to 400 MWs into the power system and can be connected to municipal power generation networks; and
  • One other key Western Cape Government intervention is the Municipal Energy Resilience (MER) plan, which is well-advanced and currently targets five municipalities.

Premier Winde emphasised, “The measures the CoCT is implementing are very encouraging. Cape Town’s population is growing at a rapid rate and it is important that the Mayor and his team do everything they can to boost power production, protecting households and businesses from severe blackouts. This includes embracing innovation. I urge all our municipalities to put the needs of our citizens first amid this crisis and to continuously work on their energy plans.”

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