Cape Town Pledges R1.2B to Fortify Energy, Tackle Load Shedding

  1. The City of Cape Town is investing R1.2 billion in the Steenbras Hydro Pumped Storage Scheme as part of its 2023/24 Building Hope Budget, aiming to maintain and expand the facility while protecting residents from load shedding and securing the city’s electrical infrastructure.
  2. The Steenbras investment follows a separate R1.2 billion plan for a solar PV and battery storage project capable of producing 60MW of renewable energy, showcasing the city’s commitment to sustainable energy solutions.
  3. Additional budget allocations include embedded independent power purchases, the Power Heroes program, solar PV initiatives, battery storage, and waste-to-energy projects, all designed to strengthen Cape Town’s energy infrastructure and mitigate the impacts of load shedding.

The City of Cape Town has announced a substantial investment of R1.2 billion in the Steenbras Hydro Pumped Storage Scheme as part of its 2023/24 Building Hope Budget. This investment aims to support the maintenance and expansion of the Steenbras hydro plant over the next nine years, which will ultimately protect Cape Town residents from the detrimental effects of load shedding and ensure the security of the city’s electrical infrastructure.

The final budget and delivery program will be determined by the allocation of funds and the execution of professional services. Councillor Beverley van Reenen, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy, explained that approximately R1 billion has been allocated for the refurbishment and extension of the Steenbras Hydro Pumped Storage Scheme, with another R200 million set aside for maintenance.

Van Reenen emphasized the importance of this investment in Steenbras and the maintenance program, stating that it is essential to the city’s commitment to shielding customers from at least one or two stages of load shedding. The plan also includes expanding protection to up to four stages in the near future as part of the load-shedding protection initiative.

The city’s power generation management and load-shedding protection directly or indirectly benefit all Capetonians, as it safeguards crucial city infrastructure used for service provision and ensures the stability of the city’s electricity network.

The Steenbras facility is composed of four turbines capable of generating 160MW of electricity. Cape Town remains the only city in South Africa to operate a large pumped hydro-electric scheme. Regular maintenance and effective management of the power station have proven successful in offsetting high tariff and demand periods.

This investment plan in Steenbras is in addition to a separate R1.2 billion plan by the city to invest in a solar PV and battery storage project, which has the potential to produce 60MW of renewable energy.

Moreover, the city has budgeted for the following programs to combat load shedding:

  • R220 million on embedded independent power purchase agreements
  • R288 million for the Power Heroes program, which offers incentives for voluntary power reduction
  • An estimated R1 billion investment in Steenbras over the next nine years, subject to all due diligence and legal and regulatory processes
  • R640 million on solar PV and R53 million for the Cash for Power program, which involves selling excess power back to the City
  • R50 million in battery storage initiatives
  • R32 million on waste-to-energy projects

These strategic investments highlight Cape Town’s commitment to developing a resilient and sustainable energy infrastructure, ultimately benefiting its residents and businesses by mitigating the impacts of load shedding.

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