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W Cape energy plan – solar geysers for poor, grid infrastructure

The Western Cape Department of Infrastructure is to invest R116.6 million in the Provincial Energy Resilience Programme and Solar Geyser Initiative.

The Department announced recently that the 2024/25 fiscal year will see its contribution “make significant advances in helping the Western Cape become less reliant on Eskom, and the first province to end loadshedding.”

In March, the Provincial Minister of Infrastructure, Tertuis Simmers, announced that from its annual budget, the department has set aside R116.6m for the energy programme’s projects scheduled to launch or continue in the 2024/5 fiscal year.

Five projects identified as part of the department’s programme for this financial year

The feasibility phase of the Explore Options for Gas to Power project has recently been completed.

This is a current topic with the ongoing national Gas Independent Power Producer Procurement programme which seeks 3GW of energy generation from gas, and the expected publication of the national Gas Master Plan.

The Department said the second of these projects, the Stellenbosch Municipal Independent Power Producer Procurement (MIPPP) Transaction Advisor and Project Manager project, is well on track.

The second phase which includes the feasibility study is due for completion in the first quarter of 2024/25.

“The Stellenbosch Municipality will, thereafter, be equipped with the results of a detailed, multi-faceted and multi-disciplinary investigation into the viability of a 50MWp solar PV facility, including Battery Energy Storage,” the Department said.

The Project Preparation Facility will build on learnings from the Stellenbosch MIPPP project and has been established to bring transaction advisory and related services to other municipalities across the province.

“The range of services is wide and designed to match the anticipated needs of the municipalities to bring projects to bankability and to ensure compliant procurement of low-carbon and renewable energy to support the municipalities’ residents, businesses, and consumer bases.

“Currently, the projects are being developed in response to the applications received from several municipalities.”

In the Grid Infrastructure project, the department completed a detailed assessment of the grid infrastructure in the Western Cape at the end of March 2024.

The Department said it will continue to build on this with the assistance of engineers contracted via the Capacity to Implement project.

The Solar Geyser Panel Installation programme for indigent households will continue this year with the programme being implemented at seven housing developments across the province.

Expanding rollout of Western Cape solar geyser programme

Simmers launched the solar geyser project in the last financial year through the department’s own funding. The department aims to install 1,557 solar geyser panels by the end of current financial year 2024/5.

“Our commitment to advancing energy resilience in the Western Cape is evident through the allocation of R116.6 million towards critical projects aimed at reducing reliance on Eskom and enhancing sustainability.

“The extension of our solar geyser panel installation programme for indigent households further underscores our dedication to providing clean and affordable energy solutions for our communities,” said Simmers.

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