Substantiated by the economic impact of energy insecurity and increasing global climate change response action (e.g. carbon trade barriers), energy resilience is a necessary condition for business competitiveness, confidence, investment, growth and job preservation and creation. Without energy resilience, economic opportunities and low–carbon sustainable development will be constrained.
South Africa is currently in an electricity crisis, as demonstrated by rotational load shedding, as a result of shortages in reliable generation capacity at Eskom.
The Green Economy Chief Directorate at the Western Cape Government's Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT) is spearheading a Municipal Energy Resilience (MER) Initiative to enable energy resilience in the Western Cape. The MER Initiative is supported by and run in collaboration with the Department of Local Government (DLG), Provincial Treasury (PT), the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, the City of Cape Town and the six candidate municipalities.
With the goal of being Africa’s leading green economic hub, the Western Cape Government has set a target of an additional 500 MW of lower carbon energy to be produced in the Western Cape by 2025. The focus is on diversifying and decentralising the Western Cape energy mix through the following:
- Supporting municipalities in the procurement of energy from Independent Power Producers and renewable energy generation
- Enabling the private sector by providing energy sector and other businesses with support to undertake wheeling, small-scale embedded generation and bulk energy generation and procurement.
- Enabling Infrastructure, particularly transmission and distribution infrastructure upgrades and energy storage
- Enabling systems, particularly municipal pool buying mechanisms, financial and funding systems as well as demand and supply enablement.
- Providing strategic framing, positioning and advocacy for the province to strategically plan for and provide clear market signals for improved energy resilience.
- Providing energy sector ecosystem support to strengthen the energy (and green economy) sector and promote local production opportunities.
The Energy Directorate provides various resources and undertakes various projects to improve Energy Resilience in the Western Cape. The flagship initiative is the MER Initiative - a 3-year programme running to July 2023. The MER initiative is spearheaded by the Department of Economic Development and Tourism’s (DEDAT) Energy Directorate and supported by the combined efforts of the Department of Local Government (DLG) and Provincial Treasury (PT).
The key objectives of the MER initiative are the development, support and capacity building to implement renewable energy projects in municipalities across the province for municipalities, businesses and households to generate, procure and sell own power including, but not limited to, municipalities transacting directly with IPPs (Independent Power Producers), all aimed at increasing energy and economic resilience.
See below for more information.