R60m for Cape municipalities to generate, procure their own electricity
Cape Town - More than R60 million has been set aside for the Municipal Energy Resilience (MER) project to assist municipalities in generating and procuring their own electricity.
This was announced by the department of economic development and tourism’s (Dedat) green economy director, Helen Davies, during a discussion of the department’s budget appropriation with the standing committee on finance and economic opportunities.
Davies said the MER project was specifically designed to enable municipalities to take advantage of the new energy regulations and would help the Western Cape become more energy secure.
Davies was answering a question from committee chairperson Deidré Baartman (DA), who had asked about the department’s response to the recent announcement by Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe on Independent Power Producers.
Davies said Dedat was working in collaboration with the department of local government and the provincial treasury to develop energy projects.
Baartman said she was glad Dedat had made the issue of energy a priority, as a vibrant energy sector would mean further job creation.
“Despite the R86 million reduction in the budget, the department is finding innovative ways to cut costs without having to compromise on its important work to drive economic growth, support local businesses and attract tourism to the Western Cape,” said Baartman.
Meanwhile, Davies said MER would be important in reducing the province’s carbon footprint.
“The lower carbon footprint is a critical issue, as it is becoming increasingly important in terms of our exports, and a lot of our economic growth is going to be export-based.
“A number of countries are putting up carbon trade barriers, and so the quicker South Africa as a whole and the Western Cape, in particular, can lower its carbon footprint, the better in terms of prioritising exports,” said Davies.
Department head Solly Fourie said: “The provincial skills development and innovation programme is aligned to the provincial recovery plan and is focussed on boosting employment through accelerating skills supply and work placement initiatives.”
Fourie was answering a question on skills development in the province from committee member Nosipho Makamba-Botya (EFF).