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POWER CRISIS

George municipality details plan to beat Stages 1-4 of rolling blackouts

George municipality details plan to beat Stages 1-4 of rolling blackouts
The city of George in the Western Cape is implementing its own electricity solutions. (Photo: Wikimedia)

The George municipality is implementing plans that will lead to the bypassing of load shedding Stages 1 and 2 and possibly even Stages 3 and 4.

George municipality’s plans for municipal emergency resilience could ultimately save the Southern Cape municipality up to four stages of power cuts. 

Mayor Leon van Wyk spoke at an energy update briefing by Western Cape Premier Alan Winde on Thursday.

He said the George municipality had been “working on this plan since last year”. The municipality has set short-term goals on energy efficiency and demand management through both the reduction of consumption and self-generation. Medium-term goals include large-scale self-generation from the municipality and private use. Long-term goals include a resilient and reliable supply.

This, Van Wyk said, would make the municipality “self-sufficient”. 

george load shedding

George Mayor Leon van Wyk. (Photo: Facebook)

Among the measures the George municipality has put in place include reducing its own energy consumption. The municipality will replace lights in municipal buildings and facilities with energy-saving or LED lights. Ongoing projects include retrofitting all street lights and high mast lights with LED or energy-saving lights.

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The municipality will replace air conditioning units with energy-efficient inverter-driven air conditioning units. Geyser heat pumps will also be replaced. The retrofitting of all traffic lights with LEDs will take place, while traffic lights have been fitted with UPS devices.

This could reduce the consumption of electricity by 4MW, said Van Wyk. 

The municipality commissioned a 300kWp solar plant in September 2021, at a cost of R7.6-million. This would supply the main municipal building with additional energy fed into the power grid.

Three additional power plants are planned for 2024, which could make the municipality exempt from Stage 1 and Stage 2 power cuts. With another solar plant scheduled for 2025 at a capital cost of R550-million at this point, this should free the municipality from power cuts at Stages 1-4. 

Thursday’s briefing was the second in a series that will be hosted by Winde and his special adviser on energy, Alwie Lester, on the province’s response to the ongoing energy crisis.

Winde said he was “looking forward” to next week’s provincial budget, which will be delivered by Mireille Wenger, the MEC for finance and economic development and tourism. This he said, would expand on the money provided for the province’s energy response.

The province has announced that R1-billion will be allocated to its energy response. Giving some suggestions about what the money could be used for, Lester said the province was looking at short-term responses such as solar packs that included solar battery chargers for indigent households, as well as incentives for small businesses to use renewable energies. 

The budget will be tabled on Wednesday, 14 March in Cape Town. DM

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  • Johan Buys says:

    If they keep on paying R25,000 per kW they are not going to get very far. In 2021, 300kW PV should have cost them at most R2.6m not R7.6m!!!

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