Western Cape wants to be the first province to ditch load shedding as it moves away from Eskom

 ·27 Oct 2020

As part of the Western Cape’s promise to eliminate load shedding, the provincial government says it has assisted 24 local municipalities and the City of Cape Town with their small-scale embedded generation (SSEG) projects.

This forms part of the province’s new Municipal Energy Resilience (MER) project which aims at upscaling and assisting Western Cape municipalities in procuring wholesale electricity from Independent Power Producers (IPPs).

“The procurement of energy can be a complex, challenging task, and municipalities do not always have the necessary policies, plans, resources, and procurement expertise to purchase their own electricity,” said Deidré Baartman, the DA’s Western Cape spokesperson for Finance, Economic Development, and Tourism.

“However, the national gazetting of regulations to allow for municipalities to generate and procure their own electricity independently of Eskom is a move in the right direction toward the Western Cape being the first province to eliminate load shedding – a promise on which we will hold the premier to account in his Western Cape Recovery Plan tabled last week.”

Baartman said that the MER’s aim is to offer structured support to municipalities in navigating these complexities in order to realise new, more cost-effective energy and create economic opportunities for their communities.

The project is also aiming to improve municipalities’ revenues by balancing energy security with creating more secure, reliable and cost-effective future electricity price paths.

“These 24 municipalities are poised to take advantage of the recent regulations that allow municipalities in good financial standing to procure their own energy.

“In order to grow the economy, energy security is paramount and will lead to reduced business costs, build business confidence, and help to attract investment for the province.” Baartman said.

She added that the DA  is committed to producing reliable, cost-effective energy and creating economic opportunity for residents of the Western Cape.

New directive 

On 16 October, Mineral Resources and Energy minister Gwede Mantashe gazetted a directive which provides a framework around electricity generation for the country’s municipalities.

The minister said that will give effect to president Cyril Ramaphosa’s commitment during the state of the nation address that government will enable municipalities in good financial standing to develop their own power generation projects, he said.

“The amendments to the regulations clarify the regime applicable to municipalities when requesting determinations under Section 34 of the Electricity Amendment Act,” he said.

“This will ensure an orderly development that is in line with the applicable Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) and municipal Integrated Development Plans (IDPs).”

Mantashe said that the amendments will ensure that requests are from municipalities in good financial standing, with feasible project proposals.

He said that his department has also put in place internal mechanisms to ensure that these requests are attended to in the shortest possible time.

Read: South Africa’s cities to switch to solar as Eskom monopoly ends

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