Cape Town’s Bold Budget Aims to End Loadshedding: A Bright Electric Light at the End of the Eskom Tunnel
Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis recently unveiled the City of Cape Town’s ‘Budget for Building Hope’ for the fiscal year 2023/24. The R69.9 billion draft budget includes a bold R2.3 billion commitment to tackle loadshedding and transform the city’s energy landscape.
The Mayor’s Vision: A Loadshedding-Free Cape Town
Mayor Hill-Lewis firmly believes that Cape Town can become the first metro to break free from loadshedding. He emphasized the crippling impact of loadshedding on both the national economy and local government, with costs to the city reaching a staggering R390 million in the current fiscal year alone.
The Plan: R2.3 Billion to End Loadshedding Over the Next Three Years
The ambitious budget allocates R2.3 billion towards ending loadshedding, through initiatives such as:
- R220 million for independent power purchases over the next three years
- R288 million for the City’s Power Heroes programme, incentivizing residents to use less power during peak hours to prevent loadshedding stages
- A 10% to 15% increase in the feed-in tariff for households and businesses selling excess rooftop solar power back to the City, with no limits on the amount of power that can be sold
- R1 billion in the medium term to operate and maintain the Steenbras pumped-storage hydroelectric plant, a critical part of the city’s loadshedding resilience
- R636 million over the next three years for solar PV installations
- R50 million for battery storage
- R32 million for the waste-to-energy programme at landfills
Capitalizing on Solar Power and Steenbras Hydroelectric Plant Maintenance
Mayor Hill-Lewis praised the 44-year-old Steenbras hydroelectric plant for its performance, attributing its success to regular and thorough maintenance. Furthermore, he emphasized the City’s desire to make solar power more appealing to residents and businesses, encouraging them to help end loadshedding over time.
Public Participation in the Draft Budget
The R69.9 billion draft budget is now open for public participation until May 2023. By investing in renewable energy and loadshedding resilience, Cape Town aims to become the first city to break free from Eskom’s hold and serve as a shining example of a brighter, more sustainable future.