At its council meeting on 27 January 2021 Stellenbosch Municipality gave the first step to possibly becoming the first municipality in the country to turn the tables on loadshedding. The council authorised an investigation into both the use of alternative sources of electricity and the self-generation of electricity through alternative sources.
The door for this move was opened with the promulgation of the Electricity Regulation Act Regulations in October 2020.
“While there is still a long road ahead in the battle against loadshedding, today’s decision marks the official start of a journey for Stellenbosch Municipality that may culminate in energy independence and long-term energy sustainability. The adoption of this report by Council paves the way for an investigation into the need, viability and opportunities to be conducted,” said Executive Mayor Gesie van Deventer.
The mayor added that “We will be able to make use of brilliant internal research entities, experts at the University of Stellenbosch, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Western Cape Government as part of our joint investigation.”
According to a press statement, this joint investigation will focus on various potential sources of energy production, including rooftop solar panels, methane mining, allowing the public to generate electricity and sell this to the municipality, purchasing electricity directly from registered IPPs, and the possible selling of electricity to willing buyers from outside the municipal area.
The announcement was welcomed by Western Cape MECs David Maynier (Finance and Economic Opportunities) and Anton Bredell (Local Government). They said in a joint statement that the Western Cape Government will support the municipality through its Municipal Energy Resilience Project.
Bredell added that “The national challenges with electricity won’t disappear soon and town councils know that without guaranteed electricity supply there are risks for job security and economic growth.”
Text: Editorial Desk | Image: Pixabay