David Maynier, the Western Cape minister of finance and economic opportunities, has announced that applications are now open for the Western Cape Municipal Energy Resilience Fund. This fund will make available almost R13-million to qualifying municipalities for research and planning to determine the requirements and potential costs of the renewable energy projects they will be developing to build energy security and buffer households and businesses from load shedding in the Western Cape.
The launch of the fund is the next critical step in Phase 1 of the Western Cape’s Municipal Energy Resilience (MER) Initiative which aims to help municipalities to take advantage of the new energy regulations, which may include municipalities purchasing energy directly from independent power producers (IPPs).
The fund will do this by supporting the development of preparatory work such as the development of Electricity Master Plans and Cost of Supply Studies. These will help municipalities to assess aspects such as grid availability, infrastructure needs and costs so that they can develop thorough plans for financially sustainable renewable energy projects.
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.
These RFI submissions are going through an assessment process to inform the MER Initiative’s pioneering projects roadmap. Although subject to final review, initial results are promising.
From the 82 private project submissions, 62 submissions representing a combined nominal generation capacity of more than 4800 MW have been deemed to be potentially viable and relevant. Of these, 12% (590 MW) of projects appear capable of reaching commercial operation within 12 months, while 75% (nearly 3600 MW) of projects indicated commercialisation within two years from signing a power purchase agreement.
Submissions include a range of individual generation technology projects ranging from below 1 MW to above 100 MW. Of the renewable energy generation technologies proposed, solar PV is the largest generation technology group followed by onshore wind.
Respondents ranged from large, established project developers and owners to smaller emerging project developers. Several submissions were received from outside the province with some potential intentions of wheeling, but most projects are located in the Western Cape.
More information on the Western Cape Municipal Energy Resilience Fund can be found here: https://www.westerncape.gov.za/110green/
Queries can be sent to MER-Initiative@westerncape.gov.za
Contact Francine Higham, Tel 071 087-5150, email@example.com