Opening of George Airport Solar Plant
Speech by Donald Grant, Minister of Transport and Public Works
- Master of Ceremonies, Mr Morne Peterson
- Honourable Minister of Transport, Ms Dipou Peters
- Honourable Executive Mayor of the George Municipality, Alderman Charles Stander
- Representatives of the George Municipality
- Chairperson of the ACSA Board, Mr Skhumbuzo Macozoma
- CEO of ACSA, Mr Bongani Maseko, and other other EXCO and company representatives present today
- Dr Willie Cilliers from the George Business Chamber
- George Eskom Manager, Mr Bongani Mandla
- ACSA partners in the air transportation industry represented here today
- Invited guests
- Ladies and gentlemen
Good afternoon, goeie middag, molweni
I am honoured to represent the Western Cape Government at today’s event, and to convey our support for this much needed initiative spearheaded by the Airports Company South Africa (ACSA). Mitigating our collective environmental impact, and looking to more sustainable sources of power that reduce the load on the country’s constrained power grid, is a national imperative: we simply must be resolute in exploring viable alternative sources of electricity generation.
It is heartening to see that this approach, demonstrated through this Solar Plant project by ACSA, is shared with the Western Cape Government. With the introduction of our Energy Security Game Changer initiative, we have identified the negative impact on economic growth of load shedding resulting from a continued burden on the power grid.
The Western Cape Government believes that businesses and residents in the Western Cape can contribute to solving the country’s energy challenges by adopting cleaner energy generation and consumption practices.
Our goal as the Western Cape Government is to reduce our own demand from the national electricity grid by 10% in the next three years; a goal that is both necessary and achievable when we: 1) reduce our electricity usage, and 2) generate our own energy by installing solar water heaters and solar PV panels.
We have already, as a government, committed to leading by example and to reducing our own energy consumption through various initiatives, like the Department of Transport and Public Works’ Modernisation Programme, and the Department of Health’s Energy Savings Initiative.
This George Airport Solar Plant Project aims to address the same challenges that we have identified as a government, and will ultimately make this and other airports around the country, less reliant on the grid to generate power.
The Western Cape Government is pleased that the first airport solar plant is being launched here in George, the jewel of the Eden District, which is home to billions of rands of investment by the provincial government, predominantly in roads infrastructure, and public transport.
Just last year, I was proud to open the newly constructed R105 million Blanco Road, which serves as a crucial connection for the Herold’s Bay and surrounding areas, to the regional economic centre that is George. This 19 km stretch of road is a testament to the Western Cape Government’s commitment to delivering world-class infrastructure right here in the Western Cape.
It was with even greater pride that we were also able to launch South Africa’s first non-metro based integrated public transport system, Go George, right here during October Transport Month in 2015. This partnership project between the National Department of Transport, the Western Cape Government, George Municipality, and the George minibus taxi and bus industry, has seen us deliver an affordable, scheduled, safe, and reliable public transport service to the people of George; drastically improving their quality of life and to the economy of George.
The Western Cape government is proud to be an integral part of continued investment in George, together with other spheres of government.
At the heart of George’s economic potential, is this functional and efficient regional airport. I should like to commend ACSA for this great initiative that will not only ease the pressure on the country’s power grid, but undoubtedly add to the airport’s overall efficiency and sustainability.
I thank you.