WC Infrastructure Minister outlines new department’s role in energy resilience | Western Cape Government



WC Infrastructure Minister outlines new department’s role in energy resilience

30 March 2023

Media release: Western Cape Infrastructure Minister outlines new department’s role in province’s energy resilience push at Premier’s 5th Energy Digicon

Premier  Alan Winde hosted Western Cape Infrastructure Minister Tertuis Simmers at his 5th Energy Digicon today.

The Provincial Department of Infrastructure, which will be officially launched on Saturday, 1 April, will play an integral part in building up the Western Cape’s energy resilience. “Our whole-of-government approach, which is applied to how the Western Cape Government (WCG) generally works, will be aggressively employed to resolve the energy crisis. Infrastructure development will be the backbone of our energy security drive,” said the Premier.

Premier Winde reflected on his recent meeting with Dr Kgosientsho Ramakgopa, the Minister of Electricity, in Cape Town, during which the 45-day delay in maintenance to extend the lifespan of the Koeberg nuclear power station was raised. “I asked the Minister to keep a close eye on this issue. This means we could find ourselves in an even more precarious situation come winter when more power will be used. We must stay on top of this issue.”

In his presentation, Special Advisor to the Premier on Energy, Mr Alwie Lester, focused on one of five strategic objectives in the Western Cape Energy Resilience Plan: demand side management.

This focus area rests on the following measures:

  • A public communication campaign around managing demand and efficient use of electricity;
  • Driving an energy-saving campaign that will form the basis of the WCG’s loadshedding exemption request to national government, Eskom, or the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA);
  • Incentivizing the use of alternative energy sources for SMMEs;
  • Incentivizing the use of energy-efficient products and services for the public;
  • Piloting a load management system to help manage peak hours usage.

“Our demand side management initiative will be accompanied by an incentive for residents to reduce their power use,” the Premier added.

Minister Simmers outlined his department’s 2050 Western Cape Infrastructure Framework, a long-term plan to develop and maintain critical infrastructure projects. He stated, “While this is a long-term strategy to develop and maintain key infrastructure projects, we have dug deep to find immediate solutions to the energy crisis. For the 2023/24 financial year, we have allocated R61.9 million towards energy initiatives.”

This budget is broken down as follows:

  • R9.8 million for project support for independent power producers’ procurement in Stellenbosch;
  • R1 million will go towards project preparation to support gas power exploration;
  • R3 million has been set aside for grid transmission upgrades; and
  • R24 million will be spent on installing 976 solar geysers across key housing projects with specific focus on indigent households.

This week’s digicon came amid the WCG’s budget season. The Premier stressed, “Our provincial budget has now officially been approved. We are putting significant resources, more than R1 billion, into our energy resilience plan, which has seen us having to reallocate funds from other departments to mitigate the impact of blackouts on our people and economy. This demonstrates the urgency we are employing to deal with this crisis. This “budget of action” will see multiple provincial government departments knuckle down and spend our taxpayers’ money transparently and effectively to help bring worth and dignity to our province.”

To watch a recording of this week’s digicon, please visit: