The City of Cape Town has announced that it is pursuing the Paardevlei Ground-mounted Solar Photovoltaic and Battery Energy Storage System project.

The R1.2 billion (~65 million) project promises to shield the city from one full stage of load shedding.

Located just outside Somerset West, on a site of 400 hectares owned by the city, the project will produce 60 megawatts worth of renewable energy and will be implemented with technical assistance from the C40 Cities Finance Facility.

“More than 60 cities around the world applied [for the assistance], and Cape Town was the only city that was successfully awarded assistance for two projects,” said Cape Town Mayor, Geordin Hill-Lewis.

The assistance will come in the form of expertise required for specialist studies regarding environmental impacts, the engineering design of the project, as well as the means to finance the project.

Of the R1.2 billion required for the project, the city will be allocating R447-million from its R2.3-billion budget to end load shedding over three years. Other possible funding options which will be assessed include private-public partnerships or having an Independent Power Producer develop the project and then have the city enter into a power-purchase agreement for the electricity.

“This project is another critical step in our journey away from Eskom reliance and towards a load shedding-free Cape Town,” concluded Hill-Lewis.

Other initiatives the City of Cape Town has taken recently to fight load shedding include a new tender to buy 500MW of electricity from independent producers, incentivising households and businesses to feed power back to the grid from their rooftop solar installations, and a R1 billion budget allocation for the maintenance and operation of the Steenbras pumped storage hydropower plant.

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