Overstrand Municipality Explores Alternative Energy
The national government recently changed the country’s energy regulation, allowing municipalities to purchase electrical energy directly from independent power producers (IPPs) and/or to develop their own generation facilities.
According to Overstrand Executive Mayor, Dudley Coetzee, this opens opportunities for the municipality to investigate a variety of renewable energy projects to “see if we can purchase electricity from renewable energy independent power producers to reduce our dependence on Eskom”.
He confirmed that Overstrand Municipality has been selected to take part in two provincial initiatives aimed at taking advantage of the new energy regulations, namely the Sustainable Infrastructure Development and Financial Facility (SIDAFF) as well as the Municipal Energy Resilience Project (MER).
In addition to the two Provincial Government programmes mentioned above, the Municipality has embarked on the following activities as a first step in a long journey to minimise load shedding:
• The municipality has an active Small-Scale Embedded Generation (SSEG) program, with 25 clients taking part in the program. This program allows municipal clients with renewable energy generation capacity, for own use on their own land, to feed excess energy into the municipal electricity network.
The programme started in 2016 and the municipality has a total SSEG capacity of 201kVA connected to the grid.
• The municipality is in discussion with two IPPs regarding the installation of Solar Photo Voltaic plants in Kleinmond (18MW) and Gansbaai (10MW).
• The municipality is in discussion with renewable energy company, regarding the installation of a pilot Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) system for the generation of electricity from municipal waste water at the Waste Water Treatment Plant. The project is for a phased implementation, starting with a small pilot plant and over time increasing the capacity up to 5 MW.
• The municipality is in discussion with energy trading company regarding a pilot project to assist them to obtain an electrical power trading license from NERSA. The pilot project is for a capacity of 1 MW and can be expanded.
It should be noted that this journey to increase the renewable energy capacity will not be short one due to a number of factors outside the control of the municipality. However, the public can rest assured that there is political and administrative will to ensure that the intent to increase renewable energy capacity is realised.