Municipal Energy Resilience Initiative signs MoUs with candidate municipalities

22nd July 2021 By: Tasneem Bulbulia - Creamer Media Reporter

The Western Cape’s Municipal Energy Resilience (MER) Initiative has signed memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with all six of the candidate municipalities participating in the initiative. 

This follows a ceremonial signing with the executive mayor of Stellenbosch Alderman Gesie van Deventer, on behalf of the Stellenbosch municipality, which will be participating in the first phase of the MER Initiative in this financial year.

The Drakenstein, Mossel Bay, Overstrand, Saldanha Bay and Swartland municipalities will also participate in the initiative. 

The signing of these MoUs is a critical step in Phase 1 of the MER Initiative and follows a readiness evaluation to determine which municipalities are most equipped and meet the conditions required to take advantage of the energy regulations to develop their own power generation projects and procure power from independent power producers (IPPs), says Western Cape Finance and Economic Opportunities Minister David Maynier.

“We will now be supporting and assisting these municipalities to ensure that municipal electricity networks are prepared to undertake pioneering renewable energy projects,” he notes.

Maynier says the work will explore multiple pioneering renewable energy technologies and scales, cost options, scale of investment required, location issues, risks, municipal readiness needs, infrastructure needs, timelines to get capacity onto the grid, transaction and procurement mechanisms, and regulatory issues.    

“While we have been finalising the MoUs with these municipalities, we successfully concluded a request for information (RfI) calling on all potential private and public sector organisations, including municipalities, to provide information on renewable energy projects which will assist in defining the potential pioneering projects that can be implemented in relevant candidate municipalities in the Western Cape.  

“Additionally, we are also collaborating with the City of Cape Town and welcome their recent announcement of an RfI for innovative funding and financing instrument solutions for their Renewable Energy Programme,” Maynier acclaims.

He says the RfI is aimed at development banks and multilateral development funds for projects that the city will own and operate, located on city-owned land and buildings (typically within the city distribution grid) and ranging in size from less than 1 MW to 100 MW per project, with the potential to explore larger-scale projects connected to State-owned power utility Eskom’s network.

“We will continue to do everything we can to support municipalities and businesses to participate in the growing the green energy sector and to become more energy resilient so that together we can create a more energy resilient future in the Western Cape,” Maynier comments.