Town News|

Statement by Executive Mayor Gesie van Deventer

28 January 2021

With blackouts and loadshedding frequently sweeping across the nation due to the energy crisis in South Africa, it has become imperative for municipalities to start investigating alternate energy sources. A request to commence with an investigation into the use and generation of alternate electricity energy supplies was adopted by the Stellenbosch Council yesterday.

The decision puts Stellenbosch in the lead to potentially become the first municipality in the country to eliminate load shedding.

The promulgation of the Electricity Regulation Act Regulations in October 2020 opened the door for municipalities to start investigating how they can generate their own electricity and purchase electricity from independent power producers (IPP). We are proud to be the first out of the starting blocks in this regard.

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.

In addition to benefitting from years of sustained good governance, our Municipality is in the fortunate position of having some of the brightest minds in the energy sector right on our doorstep. 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.

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 our municipal area.

As South Africa’s leading Valley of Opportunity and Innovation, we look forward to walking alongside our research partners on the journey towards energy independence. We are committed to conducting our investigation in a scientifically-rigorous and transparent manner, and will be providing more details on this venture once the findings of the investigation are tabled before Council.

Media enquiries:
Stuart Grobbelaar T: 021 808 8172 | C: 084 036 1395
Mart-Marié Haasbroek T: 021 808 8024 | C: 072 910 3724

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