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Load shedding: City of Cape Town says first solar plant to be built in Atlantis in 2023


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Cape Town – The City of Cape Town plans to build its first grid-connected solar plant next year as one of its interventions to end load shedding over time.

The City has issued the tender for engineering, procurement and construction of its planned 7MW Atlantis solar photovoltaic (PV) plant.

The facility will be connected directly into the City’s electrical network, and the City added that the future could hold the construction of similar plants across the metro.

“This is one of a range of interventions to end load shedding over time. The power plant would start generating electricity in 2024 and be in operation for 20 years, with a foreseen annual output of 14.7GWh.

“The City currently purchases most of its electricity from Eskom. High Eskom price escalations expected in future may not be financially sustainable for the City and its residents,” said Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.

“It is expected that the Atlantis solar plant will enhance the City’s financial sustainability as the cost of generating the electricity would be lower than the bulk procurement from Eskom. Reducing the dependency on Eskom also means the City can develop and explore more climate-friendly power sources than Eskom’s coal-fired power stations.

“This is another decisive step that the City is taking toward a more secure, cheaper and cleaner energy future for the people of Cape Town. Apart from the City’s own build generation, strides have also been made to enabling independent power production and small-scale embedded generation,” he said.

“In this financial year, R15 million has been allocated to pay for energy generated by small-scale embedded generators through the feed in tariff of 75.51c/kWh (excluding VAT) and the 25c/kWh incentive offered for small-scale embedded generators.

“I recently announced a policy shift allowing qualifying commercial and industrial electricity generators to sell energy to the City. The City also issued its first tender in the new Independent Power Producer (IPP) programme which entails buying 200MW from IPPs within the City’s electricity supply area,” said Hill-Lewis.

Net zero

Mayco member for Energy, Beverley van Reenen said: “One of the goals of this programme is to achieve the City’s net-zero carbon municipal buildings commitment by 2030, and this power plant would be expected to contribute towards this.

“There would be a significant reduction in the City’s carbon footprint if it switched from Eskom to solar-generated electricity.

“Other important impacts of this development are that it holds the potential to enhance the attractiveness of Atlantis as an investment hub and it is expected to stimulate the green and broader local economy.

“This holds the potential to increase investment and thus enable job creation, boosting the local and Cape Town economy,” Van Reenen said.

“The investment in construction of the Atlantis plant is expected to result in a R47.2m gross domestic product increase. It is also expected that this development will enhance the safety of the surrounding communities, as well as stimulate the surrounding property market,” said Van Reenen.


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