City of Cape Town to build R1.2 billion solar PV plant with battery storage

  • Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis has announced that the City will design, build, and operate a R1,2 billion solar PV plant with battery storage capable of providing up to a full stage of load-shedding protection.
  • This is one of two projects awarded support from the C40 Cities Finance Facility (CFF), which offers cities technical and financial assistance in support of a green and just transition.

The CFF initiative is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Government of the United Kingdom and the Agence Française de Development (AFD), and is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH together with the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.

‘It gives me great pleasure to announce that the City’s Paardevlei ground mounted solar PV and battery storage project just outside Somerset West will yield up to 60MW of renewable energy – enough to protect against one full stage of Eskom’s load-shedding. The C40 CFF will support the project team in their efforts to undertake a technical feasibility study. This project is another critical step in our journey away from Eskom reliance and towards a load-shedding-free Cape Town. We are confident that Cape Town will be the first metro to free our economy from power disruptions, and ensure a green and just energy transition,’ said Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.

The feasibility study for the Paardevlei plant will be complete by the end of 2023, with full commissioning of the plant estimated by August 2026. The plant is envisaged for the portion of Paardevlei that is not developable for human settlements purposes.

Thomas Schaef, Country Director GIZ South Africa, Lesotho and eSwatini said, ‘The cooperation agreement between the City of Cape Town and the C40 Cities Climate Facility shows the importance of international cooperation to generate actions that benefit the population. The energy and climate projects supported by C40 CFF will not only improve energy security and living conditions, but will also contribute to the South African government’s commitment to become carbon neutral and resilient.

‘Through the CFF program, implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, the capacity of cities to access financing for climate change projects are strengthened.’

The City of Cape Town announces the launch of a R1,2bn solar PV project with the support of C40 and GIZ. From left to right: Henri-Pierre Gebauer, Lead City Operations CFF; Cathy Cherubo C40; Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis, German Consul General Ms Tanje Werheit, Deputy Mayor Eddie Andrews, and Thomas Schaef, GIZ Country Director. Image credit: City of Cape Town

Mayor Hill-Lewis recently tabled the City’s Building Hope Budget for 23/24, with a R2,3bn end load-shedding plan over three years inclusive of funding towards the Paardevlei solar PV plant.

On 6 April, the City issued its largest power tender yet seeking to buy 500 MW of dispatchable energy on the open market. This is the final phase of a three-phase procurement to protect residents from the first four stages of Eskom’s load-shedding within three years.

Contracts for a 200 MW renewable energy procurement from Independent Power Producers will be awarded within 2023. The Power Heroes Programme tender is expected to be awarded within the next few weeks, which will entail incentivised voluntary energy savings via automated remote switching off of power-intensive devices at peak times.

Cape Town is the first city in the country to offer households and businesses cash for power from their solar PV systems, with the feed-in tariff set to increase by 10,15% for 2023/24, plus a 25c per kWh incentive.

Liveable Urban Waterways Project

The City will further be receiving a donation of technical assistance to the value of about R10 million from CFF to support its Liveable Urban Waterway and Green Infrastructure Programmes which aim to enhance the health of targeted catchments and increase flood and climate change resilience in Cape Town.

A number of exciting waterway rehabilitation projects have commenced in the Sand River catchment, and the City aims to learn from these and to scale this out to other waterways and catchments.

The technical assistance project will develop a business case and masterplan for implementing nature-based solutions, green infrastructure and waterway rehabilitation  projects in two additional catchments (Diep River South and Zeekoe). The technical assistance will also include the appointment of a Senior Project Advisor, who will work closely with the project team.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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