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Cape Town’s 300MW solar power plan will be litmus test: mayor Hill-Lewis

16 February 2022 - 10:55
Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis announces the city's 300MW procurement programme at the Solar Power Africa conference at Cape Town International Convention Centre on February 16 2022.
Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis announces the city's 300MW procurement programme at the Solar Power Africa conference at Cape Town International Convention Centre on February 16 2022.
Image: Esa Alexander

The City of Cape Town is the first municipality to open its doors to independent power providers.

On Wednesday, mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said the city has opened the first round for independent entities to tender for providing up to 300MW — much of which will come from solar power.

Looking for suppliers who can provide energy generation, storage or both will “reduce our reliance on Eskom during peak times”.

Speaking at the Solar Power Africa conference in Cape Town, the mayor said: “Solar photovoltaic energy is clean and affordable and scalable.”

Talk about poverty pays lip service to solutions, but “until we solve the energy crisis” poverty cannot be solved.

SA had lived with load-shedding on and off for 15 years and “we accept it as normal, but it is not normal”.

He applauded President Cyril Ramaphosa’s “refreshing views” on removing red tape,  saying Cape Town’s new procurement process would be the litmus test on whether legislation is only interpreted to give national government the power of veto over such innovations.

Mineral resources and energy minister Gwede Mantashe at the Solar Power Africa conference at Cape Town International Convention Centre on February 16 2022.
Mineral resources and energy minister Gwede Mantashe at the Solar Power Africa conference at Cape Town International Convention Centre on February 16 2022.
Image: Esa Alexander

The mayor’s speech came after minerals and energy minister Gwede Mantashe said: “If we are moving to build a renewable sector — a long-term, sustainable one — we need to allow the sector to speak for itself.”

The sector must not be represented by lobbyists but by scientists, he said.

“It must be managed scientifically — and if you are not able to speak for yourself, others will speak on your behalf.”

He warned against importing products for the sector, saying manufacturing should be in SA, otherwise “we are simply creating jobs elsewhere”.

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