Western Cape gearing up for renewable energy prospects
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Cape Town - While Eskom launched its Renewable Energy Tariff pilot programme to assist businesses with their corporate renewable energy commitments, provincial Finance and Economic Opportunities MEC David Maynier has urged municipalities to apply for the Western Cape Municipal Energy Resilience (MER) Fund.
The fund is part of the much anticipated MER Initiative that is set to foster renewable energy projects, build energy security and buffer households and businesses from load shedding in the Western Cape by making almost R13 million available to municipalities for the development of their renewable energy projects under the new energy regulations announced by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy.
“The launch of the fund follows a successful Request for Information (RFI) for the MER initiative which solicited information for more than 100 potential energy generation projects from 82 submissions from private sector developers and owners, and a further 15 submissions from Western Cape municipalities,” said Maynier.
Maynier said submissions included a range of individual generation technology projects ranging from below 1MW to above 100MW, and of the renewable energy generation technologies received, solar PV was the largest generation technology group followed by onshore wind.
“To protect our industries and to support our environment, finding renewable energy projects is of critical importance. We call on all eligible municipalities across the Western Cape to apply for the available funding, so that we can move closer to freeing ourselves from the burden of Eskom’s national mismanagement,” said committee chairperson Deidré Baartman.
While the province was set to reduce its reliance on Eskom through the MER initiative, Eskom’s Renewable Energy Tariff pilot programme was announced with the intention of helping businesses achieve their renewable energy commitments by purchasing renewable energy directly from Eskom, instead of having to own renewable energy generators or enter into long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs).
The pilot programme will take place over a two-year period ending on March 31, 2023 wherein they offer a maximum of 300GWh per annum to customers supplied directly by Eskom on a first-come-first-served basis.
“The Renewable Energy Tariff pilot programme is initially limited to renewable electricity generated from the Sere Wind Farm and only available to Eskom’s customers,” said Eskom.
Eskom distribution division’s group executive Monde Bala said: “The Renewable Energy Tariff is designed to provide a cost-effective and flexible option for Eskom customers to consume renewable power.”
Bala said all participating customers would have the option to select any percentage of their current electricity usage to be green, they could also supplement wheeled electricity from a third party or from their own renewable electricity generated on site to help customers achieve their clean energy target.
The tariff was designed as a declining block tariff, the more green energy a customer purchases (as a percentage of total consumption), the lower the rate.