As the country struggles with way too frequent loadshedding schedules for anyone’s liking, Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier brought a little bit of hope when he announced a new renewable energy project coming to the Western Cape.
He said the move is good news to push towards an improved energy resilience in the province. ArcelorMittal South African (AMSA) will be bringing the project to the Western Cape and Gauteng after it initiated a feasibility study for two 100 MW renewable energy project to supply electric in its facilities in the two provinces.
AMSA’s CEO, Kobus Verster said that the decision was motivated by the group’s objective of lowering the carbon footprint of production and reduce its reliance on Eskom has who resorted to regular load shedding with sharp tariffs hikes over the ten years. “The alternative energy source will also offer more energy security by enabling the AMSA plants to be less dependent on costly electricity supply from the national grid which has significantly impacted business performance in recent years,” he said.
The Minister said that this project brings about various opportunities for the economy, job creation and abundant possibilities. “We are delighted that AMSA is taking advantage of the amendments to the Electricity Regulation Act that allow for private sector generation projects of up to 100MW without licensing, and that they have chosen the Western Cape as one of the two provinces in which to set up these 100MW projects.”
He also added that they are making efforts to ensure that municipalities and private sector are able to take advantage of the new energy regulations, through their Municipal Energy Resilience (MER) initiative. “The MER Initiative is aimed at reducing business costs, building business confidence, and attracting investment by supporting the implementation of renewable energy generation capacity, in municipalities across the province. This is to allow municipalities, businesses and households, to generate, procure and sell electrical energy. Together we are steadily moving towards mitigating the impact of loadshedding, and towards a cleaner, greener, more energy secure future in the Western Cape,” he concluded.
AMSA is the latest large electricity consumer to announce plans to invest in renewable electricity since the reform, with Minerals Council South Africa indicating that its members have a pipeline of projects with a collective capacity of nearly 4 000 MW.