Stellenbosch, George councils investigate independent power generation
Cape Town - Two Western Cape municipalities, Stellenbosch and George have announced that they are investigating the use and generation of alternate electricity energy supplies to beat load shedding and become more energy resilient.
The separate announcements come in the wake of the promulgation of the Electricity Regulation Act in October 2020 by Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe, which gave municipalities the green light to participate in electricity generation.
Stellenbosch mayor Gesie van Deventer said: “Making use of brilliant internal research entities, experts at the University of Stellenbosch, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the provincial government, we will focus on various potential sources of energy production.
“These include rooftop solar panels, methane mining, allowing the public to generate electricity and sell this to the municipality, purchasing electricity directly from registered IPPs, and the possible selling of electricity to willing buyers from outside our municipal area,” said Van Deventer.
George municipality spokesperson Chantèl Edwards-Klose said that council had approved a pilot project to develop and explore the technical aspects and address the regulatory process of wheeling and electricity trading within a municipal environment.
Wheeling is the action of transporting energy from a generator to a remotely located end-user through the use of an existing distribution or transmission system
DA provincial spokesperson for finance, economic development, and tourism Deidré Baartman said: “Wheeling electricity through the municipal grid to businesses and individuals creates another revenue stream for the municipality, encourages and attracts renewable energy investment and establishes a business-friendly environment for local businesses and residents.”
ANC finance and economic opportunities spokesperson Nomi Nkondlo said: “There remains a long way to go, as the municipalities will still have to navigate their own municipal legalities, the Municipal Finance Management Act, and related issues to enable their generation scope and applicability. Nevertheless the ANC welcome and support the decisions.”
Meanwhile, Business Leadership SA chief executive Busi Mavuso said: “We are still waiting for bid window 5 of the renewable energy programme as well as the results of the emergency power purchase round. More should also be done to make it easier for companies to generate their own electricity.
“I respect that the pandemic has delayed much of the reform agenda. But it has also illustrated what we can do when we are really focused. The state of the economy is now a national emergency and requires all of that focus. Many, many jobs have been lost. Now is the time to show a return to the resolve to confront these challenges head-on and rapidly implement the reforms that will finally turn our economic trajectory,” said Mavuso.