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Cape Town deploying US$65 million solar-plus-storage project to ‘reduce Eskom reliance’

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A solar-plus-storage project is being planned for the legislative capital of South Africa, as the city looks to move “away from Eskom reliance and towards a load-shedding-free Cape Town”, its Mayor said.

Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis announced that the city would design, build and operate a solar PV plant with battery storage to the tune of 1.2 billion Rand (US$65 million). The Paardevlei project near Somerset West will “yield up to 60MW of renewable energy” although the official size of the either portion was not revealed.

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A media statement did say that the project would protect the city against one full stage of load shedding from grid operator Eskom. It is part of a 500MW renewable energy procurement from independent power producers (200MW of which will conclude in 2023), the third phase of a broader effort to protect the city from load shedding.

“This project is another critical step in our journey away from Eskom reliance and towards a load-shedding-free Cape Town. We are confident that Cape Town will be the first metro to free our economy from power disruptions, and ensure a green and just energy transition,” Hill-Lewis said.

A feasibility study for the project will now be undertaken, to be completed by the end of the year with commissioning of the project planned for August 2026.

It will be supported financially by the C40 Cities Finance Facility (CFF) initiative, which offers cities technical and financial assistance in their energy transition. The CFF is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Government of the UK and the Agence Française de Development (AFD).

The City is also launching a demand management scheme which will be awarded in the next few weeks, the Power Heroes Programme, which will incentivise voluntary turning off of of power-intensive devices.

Eskom struggles to maintain grid reliability and resiliency but is also deploying its own renewable and energy storage projects to shore up its network.

Last month, Energy-Storage.news reported on the latest of these, a 513MW/2GWh RFP for battery storage for which bids are due July 5, 2023. That followed on from other tenders including a 343MW/1440MWh procurement last year, on which the first project broke ground in December.

See all coverage of the South African energy storage market here.

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