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Cape Town’s waterfront increasing its independent power, water capacities

27th October 2022

By: Rebecca Campbell

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront was planning to double its solar energy capacity as part of its response to the ongoing power cuts imposed, on a rolling basis, across the country by national electricity utility Eskom, and known in South Africa as loadshedding. This was stated by V&A Waterfront (V&A) CEO David Green at a media briefing on Wednesday.

He reported that the directors and executives of the V&A had determined that loadshedding was likely to be a long-term problem, given that so much of Eskom’s generating fleet was old and needed replacement. Current installed solar capacity at the waterfront was 2 MW. This would be increased to 4 MW in the near future, although he did not give a timeframe. And there was the potential for even greater solar energy capacity to be installed in the coming years.

But, even when solar capacity reached 4 MW, that would still, at best, represent only 15% of the V&A’s energy demand, he cautioned. They were also piloting the use of small helical wind turbines, pointing out that there was a lot of wind at the waterfront. Larger wind turbines might be a possibility, later.

Quite apart from loadshedding, the V&A had committed itself to achieve a net-zero carbon-emissions footprint by 2035. Solar and wind energy would contribute to achieving this. And, also to this end, the waterfront would pilot a biomass power plant, which would use the waste produced by the many businesses (which included numerous restaurants) located in it.

At the moment, to deal with loadshedding, the V&A had installed no fewer than 48 generators. Originally functioning separately from each other, they were now all linked into a single network, connected by a ‘smart’ system. Likewise, the waterfront now had central tanks for the diesel fuel, which was fed to the generators by a network of fuel pipes.

However, he cautioned, even once all the renewable power projects had been implemented, the waterfront would still need an external power supply to operate normally.

He also reported that the V&A was seeking to make itself independent of the Cape Town water supply. This was a consequence of the water crisis that afflicted the city during 2017 and 2018. This independence would be achieved by desalinating sea water, and a desalination plant had been piloted at the waterfront during the Covid pandemic. Such a move would protect the V&A from any future water crises, but also reduce the stress on the city’s water supply and so also help it to handle any such crises in the future.

Finally, the V&A was also piloting a water processing plant, which would process and purify waste water produced by the various activities at the waterfront.  

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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