USAID donates R1.8m to Cape Town’s renewables drive

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The City of Cape Town has received a R1.8 million boost from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), as the city steps up plans to procure its own renewable energy.

In a statement, the city says its energy directorate has accepted an offer of technical assistance from the USAID’s South African Energy Programme (SAEP).

The R1.8 million donation will assist the city with a number of projects relating to renewable energy purchase, generation and energy-efficiency interventions.

This is another step in the city’s energy programme to become more sustainable and diversify the energy mix for cleaner, more affordable energy for Cape Town over time, says the city.

Over the years, Cape Town has been at the forefront of calling on government to be allowed to procure its own energy in order to wean itself from the embattled Eskom.

Last month, the city published tender documents for the first stage of its procurement of affordable, renewable energy from independent power producers (IPPs).

In February, the city also received a R5.9 million donation from the International Finance Corporation to boost its renewable energy efforts.

Over the coming months, the City of Cape Town will procure up to 300MW of renewable energy.

The city is looking for proposals from IPPs for projects between 5MW to 20MW that will allow residents to access an affordable and reliable electricity supply, especially those that will help reduce the reliance on Eskom during peak times of use.

The city is also considering proposals from a range of projects, including generation-only projects, generation-plus-storage projects, and storage-only projects.

The city’s mayoral committee member for energy, councillor Beverley van Reenen, has welcomed the USAID donation of assistance.

This, as the energy directorate is embarking on a number of projects relating to renewable energy purchase and generation, and other sustainable energy interventions.

According to the city, the assistance from the USAID’s SAEP includes support on a pre-feasibility study of a renewable energy facility at Paardevlei in Somerset West.

It also provides expert support for the city’s IPP procurement programme, including review of its draft power purchase agreements, tariff design for the city’s IPP, as well as financial modelling input to 10MW Atlantis Solar feasibility study.

The technical assistance from the USAID is free of charge, and the city and the US body have agreed the approximate value of the assistance to be provided is R1.8 million.

The city’s energy plans have been endorsed by power utility Eskom CEO André de Ruyter, who last month met with mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis to discuss how Cape Town can help to achieve energy security in South Africa and assist Eskom in becoming a sustainable business.

“We are truly grateful for the USAID assistance, which will go a long way in helping the city with its renewable energy purchase and generation and energy-efficiency interventions,” says Van Reenen.

“The assistance is free of charge and the USAID and its team of consultants have the necessary expertise. The work is also aligned to city policy and imperatives relating to energy sector reform and climate change mitigation, which remains a top priority given our country’s energy constraints and the changing energy governance landscape.

“The city remains committed to its sustainable energy programmes to ensure our city is future-fit. We thank the USAID for their assistance and expertise,” she concludes.

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13 Aug
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