Gwede Mantashe opens a gap - will 'discuss' independent power for Western Cape

Energy minister Gwede Mantashe has agreed to discuss the Western Cape's bid for independent energy suppliers to be introduced to municipalities.
Energy minister Gwede Mantashe has agreed to discuss the Western Cape's bid for independent energy suppliers to be introduced to municipalities.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali © Sunday Times

The Western Cape has inched a step closer to allowing municipalities to supply power to the province via independent power producers (IPPs). 

Energy minister Gwede Mantashe has agreed to discuss the use of IPPs in the province, which could take pressure off power utility Eskom.

“I wrote to the minister to discuss the integrated resource plan [IRP]. He indicated that he will engage all provincial legislatures to discuss it,” said DA spokesperson on finance, economic opportunities and tourism Deidré Baartman. 

She said the move could bring cleaner, cheaper electricity to the province and dismiss lingering concerns about load-shedding. 

Baartman said the World Economic Forum had approved about 75% of power supply projects in the province and she was excited about renewable electricity projects. 

Premier Alan Winde has championed the idea and said excitement about it was indicative of the bid's potential success. 

“The Western Cape can play a positive role in helping South Africans secure their energy future,” he said in a statement.

“If Cape Town and some of the province's municipalities directly contract with IPPs, this would alleviate some of the immense pressure on Eskom and would give it the opportunity to address its growing maintenance backlog.”

Legislation for IPPs is in place in 21 of 23 municipalities in the province, with 19 having “feed-in” tariffs.

“The next step is requesting approval from the city and the last step is whether the minister makes S34 determination [ministerial determination]," Baartman said. 


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