Municipal Energy Resilience (MER) Initiative
The MER initiative is spearheaded by the Department of Economic Development and Tourism’s (DEDAT) Green Economy Chief Directorate and supported by the combined efforts of 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 (Drakenstein, Mossel Bay, Overstrand, Saldanha Bay, Stellenbosch and Swartland).
The key objectives of the MER initiative are the provision of 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. This will be done through supporting and enabling energy infrastructure development (public and private) that supports economic growth, municipal financial sustainability, and a low carbon pathway
Improving the energy resilience of the Western Cape is core to the post-Covid19 economic recovery plan to maintain and grow business competitiveness, confidence, investment, growth, job preservation and job creation and to maintain and grow export opportunities.
The low carbon component of renewable energy is critical – both to protect Western Cape exports from imminent carbon border adjustments, particularly in the light of post Covid-19 economic recovery plans being implemented by many countries that reflect an accelerated transition to lower carbon economies; to enable the increased need and desire of companies to move towards carbon neutrality; and to contribute to the country’s Paris Agreement greenhouse gas emissions reduction commitments.
Energy resilience has been identified as a key priority for the Western Cape Government and is critical to the priorities of investments and exports as it is a basic requirement to investor confidence.
In order to achieve energy resilience, the MER initiative seeks to provide project development support and capacity building to municipalities and the private sector, while working closely with national government and others to explore how the new energy regulations could lead to renewable energy generation projects in the Western Cape.
The MER initiative includes municipal procurement, private sector enablement, enabling infrastructure and systems, and strategic development and management, and presents an opportunity to incorporate innovative methodologies and delivery mechanisms as the Western Cape moves towards an energy resilience future.
The following is the structure of the MER initiative: