Green Economy a viable solution to the energy crisis

Statement by the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunity and Asset Management, Alderman James Vos

The applicability of a single energy utility model is changing rapidly in a global context with the introduction of new technologies, which are cheaper, flexible, capable of being decentralised and more environmentally friendly.

SA is in the early stage of this transition and the next five years are critical to demonstrate intention, ensure stability and gather international and local support in a rapidly transitioning energy environment.

To alleviate the burden that a struggling Eskom places on the country’s economic growth, South Africa needs consistent regulatory frameworks that support and enable a fair, open and efficient energy market.

Eskom’s inefficiencies are increased by the current lack of alternative cheaper energy sources that can supply power to the national grid in a relatively shorter time. Renewable energy technologies can offer rapid energy solutions due to shorter lead times.

Therefore, I fully support the City’s court application to buy renewable energy from Independent Power Producers. This is vital for improving the energy security of our city and I hope that the result will be positive for the residents and businesses of Cape Town.

The green economy which employs thousands, has the potential for further growth and can provide a sustainable solution to the electricity generation problems.

My department continues to work with other spheres of government and partners such as GreenCape to find sustainable green economy solutions. In the case of investment opportunities aimed towards renewable energy companies, through my department, the City provides funding to GreenCape as a strategic business partner to remove barriers and facilitate growth.

Since being established in 2010, GreenCape has helped to facilitate and support R17 billion of investment in renewable energy projects and manufacturing. From these investments, 10,000 local jobs were created.

This past week I visited several businesses to gain some insights on the real impact of the recent rolling blackouts on their operations. It is estimated that load-shedding could cost the country’s economy up to R4 billion in just one day.

I heard from several companies that when the power is cut, so are their sales. Likewise, when conveyer belts come to a halt at factories, so does production output causing massive financial losses. With the start of the peak holiday season, where we welcome thousands of visitors, the electricity outages especially compromise the hospitality industry, and results in job losses.

I also engaged with some hotels and guest house operators including several tourism attractions to see how they were coping with the situation. The impact on our local tourism economy cannot be understated, especially when the tourism sector is responsible for thousands of jobs in Cape Town with over 1.2 million international visitors annually, resulting in approximately R15 billion in tourism revenue.

Energy efficiency presents a significant opportunity for investors and businesses. The estimated annual total available market currently stands at R3 billion, and is expected to reach R21 billion by 2035.

Source: City Of Cape Town