Cape Town Takes Aim at Renewable Energy with New Campaign

Geordin Hill-Lewis hosts a mayoral campaign event at Sable Square in October 2021 (Photo via Jan Gerber/News24).

The City of Cape Town is launching a new campaign aimed at improving the city's capacity for solar power. The effort could produce as much as 300 megawatts of renewable energy, according to Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.

The initiative is part of Cape Town's efforts to reduce dependency on ESKOM and eliminate load shedding. 

Cape Town currently uses 2000 megawatts of electricity from ESKOM daily. Hill-Lewis said the more it can lean on independent power sources, the less harmful load shedding will be in the future. 

At the Solar Power Africa conference hosted at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, Hill-Lewis said this project has the potential to make Cape Town South Africa's first load shedding free city. Following load shedding issues earlier this month, Hill-Lewis said he planned to investigate the possibility of independent power producers.

Hill-Lewis said load shedding has harmful impacts on the economy because it means businesses fail and jobs are lost. 

Each stage of load shedding is estimated to cost the Western Cape R75 million per day. 

The City said it is open to proposals for generation projects, generation plus storage projects and storage projects.

At this time, the maximum capacity of the grid for renewable energy is 300 megawatts, Hill-Lewis said he hopes to grow that capacity soon. The city plans to have the projects constructed and connected in the next 40 to 50 months. 

Hill-Lewis said the transition to more solar power does not mean eliminating ESKOM altogether. 

For more from the mayor, tune in to Bush Radio 89.5 FM on 16 February at 6pm 

By Ben Rappaport 


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