George Municipality solar plant on track

21 Nov 2023 | WC Government

Executive Mayor of George, Alderman Leon van Wyk, returned to Premier Alan Winde’s Energy Digicon this week to provide an update on the interventions the municipality is exploring and implementing to become more energy resilient.

The Mayor’s return was timely. He announced that the environmental impact assessment required for the construction of a 9 MW solar power plant has now been authorised. “We have now obtained an environmental impact assessment approval for our R200 million 9 MW plant,” the Mayor told the Digicon. Construction of this facility will take between 18 and 20 months.

George Municipality is fully embracing renewable energy, namely solar power. Solar photovoltaic (PV) installations are in various stages of construction at municipal facilities to keep critical municipal services running.

George Municipality is tackling the energy crisis from all sides, through the following interventions:

  • demand side management;
  • enabling renewable energy;
  • maximising electricity wheeling;
  • enabling and promoting small-scale electricity generation;
  • restructuring tariffs to be more cost-effective and
  • smaller battery energy storage systems.

The municipality is making progress. Through its demand side management project, all municipal buildings are being fitted with energy-saving lighting; streetlights, traffic lights, and high mast lights are being retrofitted with LED or energy-saving bulbs; uninterrupted power systems (UPS) are being installed at traffic intersections; some traffic lights are being fitted with solar panels; and many geysers are now run on ripple control systems.

The municipality’s energy security push is aiming for 45% of self-generation and 30% of power from independent power producers (IPP). Mayor van Wyk said, “Those are our objectives over the next 3 to 4 years.” This is in keeping with the Western Cape Energy Resilience Programme’s overall objective of weening the province from its complete reliance on Eskom for its power needs.

Premier Winde commended the Mayor and his team saying, “The WCG will keep enabling local government and the private sector to become energy resilient even after the power crisis is resolved. It is vital that we stay ahead of the curve by planning for the future energy needs of our province to avoid another energy crisis.

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