Western Cape Infrastructure committed to improving energy resilience

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The Western Cape Minister of Infrastructure, Tertuis Simmers says his department is committed to addressing the province’s energy resilience through various infrastructure projects.

Simmers was the guest speaker during Premier Alan Winde’s weekly energy Digicon. He says his department has allocated R24 million for the installation of almost a thousand solar geysers for human settlements across the province. The aim is to mitigate the impact of the energy crisis on poor and indigent households.

Simmers says while the department’s vision is to enable infrastructural growth and investment for the province in the long term, it has also dug deep to assist in addressing the current energy crisis dogging the province.

He says while the 2050 framework focuses on long-term solutions for various infrastructural projects in the Western Cape, significant financial budget allocations have been made for this financial year.

“For the 2023/2024 financial year, we have allocated R61.9 million towards energy initiatives, which will be in support of the economy and society and these initiatives are not limited to the following. We have allocated R9.8 million for project preparation support for independent power producers’ procurement in Stellenbosch because this is a municipality that’s at the forefront of the leaders in energy resilience and this seed funding will, we believe further accelerate this municipality’s renewable energy agenda,” explains Simmers.

R1 million has been allocated for project preparation support in exploring gas power for the province, while R3 million has been set aside for planning for grid and transmission infrastructure upgrades.

“Obviously government facilities are not immune to the energy crisis, and therefore we will be supporting key facilities to augment the energy shortage with the following and earlier this week we completed two new solar PV installations, one at the green building at the Karl Bremmer hospital and for the department of agriculture as well and also key government sites and buildings will benefit from our further initiatives into the new year,” Simmers adds.

Premier Alan Winde says he has had his first formal meeting with the Minister of Energy, Kgosientso Ramokgopa, who visited power stations in the Cape last week. He says the issue of the management of the electricity demand was among the topics discussed.

“I’ve raised it with the President, I again used the opportunity to raise it with the minister of electricity to say we are prepared in this province to play our part in making sure we are reducing demand wherever we can, but there needs to be a sweetener, an incentive and that should be if whatever that formula is if we can save 100MW can we at least get 50 of those megawatts back in load shedding relief and we will work on what that and we will go out and set ourselves targets so we can go out and save ourselves load shedding levels,” says Western Cape Premier Alan Winde.

The provincial government says it will be looking at various incentive options for SMMEs that use alternative energy systems and also for high energy-intensive users to be more energy efficient.