The Western Cape has announced a new project which will see six candidate municipalities in the province move off of Eskom’s grid in favour of other power options.
In its provincial budget published on Tuesday (16 March), the provincial government said that load shedding costs the local economy about R75 million per stage, per day.
“When it comes to the economy, Covid-19 is a ‘left hook’, and load shedding is a ‘right hook’, which together often results in a knock-out blow that risks compromising economic recovery,” it said.
“Which is why we will spend R48.8 million over the medium term, and provide a further R20 million in the provincial reserves, for the Municipal Energy Resilience project.”
The province said that this is a ‘bold and ambitious project’ to support municipalities to generate, procure and sell their own power so that they can beat load shedding.
The six candidate municipalities participating in the Municipal Energy Resilience Project in this financial year are:
- Drakenstein Municipality;
- Mossel Bay Municipality;
- Overstrand Municipality;
- Saldanha Bay Municipality;
- Stellenbosch Municipality;
- Swartland Municipality.
The provincial government said that it will also be collaborating with the City of Cape Town on the project.
Eskom chief executive Andre de Ruyter has warned that South Africans can expect another five years of load shedding as the country faces a shortfall of 4,000MW. He added that this shortfall could increase if the economy grows.
De Ruyter said that this threat of disruption means that South Africa will have to accelerate the addition of new capacity to the grid, and that the shortfall could be reduced as more renewable energy options are approved.
“We all want an economy that is not constrained from growing due to a lack of available electricity generation capacity and, therefore, we believe that bringing forward new generation capacity as soon as possible will be positive for the economy and will avoid a downside risk of further shortfalls in generation capacity.”