12 October 2023
Cape Town has embarked on an ambitious transition to renewable energy. As the global demand for sustainable solutions intensifies, the City is taking decisive steps towards reducing its carbon footprint and embracing clean, green power sources.
Cape Town has abundant sunlight and wind, making it an ideal location for solar and wind power generation. The city is rapidly increasing its renewable energy capacity and reducing its dependence on non-renewable sources through large-scale green energy projects, solar installations, and community-driven initiatives.
Cape Town currently relies on bulk electricity purchases from Eskom, South Africa’s national electricity utility company. According to Councillor Beverley van Reenen, Mayoral Committee Member for Energy at the City of Cape Town, the City is actively working towards reducing its dependence on Eskom by shifting towards clean and sustainable energy sources.
“The City has a vision to become a climate-resilient, resource-efficient and carbon-neutral city,” Councillor Van Reenen said. “This will enable inclusive economic development and healthy, thriving communities [while preserving] our ecosystems.”
Mitigating the impact of load-shedding
The city is promoting the adoption of solar photovoltaics (PV) and battery storage technology for residential and commercial generation. Furthermore, initiatives such as the Steenbras Hydro Pump Storage Scheme highlight Cape Town’s commitment to securing its energy needs and mitigating the impact of load-shedding.
Cape Town is proud to be the only South African city capable of mitigating up to two stages of Eskom load-shedding. The City has established partnerships with organisations such as Green Cape, has received support from the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group network, and is a member of the World Energy Cities Partnership, further showcasing its dedication to sustainable energy practices.
The City’s Building Hope Budget for 2023/24 includes massive financial investment to help protect residents from load-shedding and to safeguard the city’s electrical infrastructure. The budget allocations include R220 million on embedded independent power purchases; R288 million on the Power Heroes programme, which entails voluntary power reduction in return for an incentive; an estimated R1 billion investment in Steenbras over the next nine years; R640 million on solar PV; and millions more on battery storage, waste-to-energy initiatives, and programmes enabling residents to sell excess electricity back to the City.
Fostering collective responsibility
One notable achievement of Cape Town’s renewable energy strategy is the establishment of solar farms and wind parks in the surrounding areas. These projects not only contribute to a significant increase in clean energy generation, but also create employment opportunities while spearheading local economic growth.
The City is also encouraging individual and community involvement through incentive programmes and education campaigns. This approach empowers individuals to become active participants in the City’s renewable energy revolution, fostering a sense of ownership and collective responsibility. Cape Town’s renewable energy journey stands as a testament to the power of collective action and the transformative potential of clean, sustainable energy sources.