OVERVIEW patterns, has cut its electricity bill by R1.7-million. On top of this, the Western Cape has its own private producers’ programme. “As I speak, there are more than 2 000 private producers in Cape Town,” says Winde. These range from a solar panel on the roof of a single private household to major installations in the Waterfront. Excess power is sold to the city. Winde is lobbying hard for the national Department of Energy to allow Saldanha Bay to be a site for a gas-to-power plant. “There should be at least 1 000MW at Saldanha. If the private sector and investors think it is a bad idea, then that’s fine.” He clearly believes that investors will think it a very good idea to invest in a site that already has bulk power consumers like ArcelorMittal Steel. If a gas plant is built at Saldanha, then it could be a catalyst for the use of gas in many other sectors such as manufacturing and residential. “Then gas plays a different role in the economy,” says Winde. “That is enabling a whole process and it complements the work we are doing. If you have solar and wind power, then you need the base, something to cover the peak hours: gas can do that.” About 100km south of Saldanha, on the West Coast road to Cape Town, is Atlantis, where a green economy manufacturing hub is under construction. A number of companies have already invested in making wind turbines, ladders and platforms for turbines and solar panels among other things. With about R680-million already invested,
and another R1-billion projected, the renewable energy economy is making an impact. There are many manufacturing opportunities. A pilot plant to investigate one of the more sophisticated aspects of solar technology is operating at the Techno Park in Stellenbosch. Photovoltaic Technology Intellectual Property (PTiP) and German engineering company Singulus Technologies have started making thin-film solar modules. Funding for the project’s infrastructure came from the Technology Innovation Agency, a unit of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), and Stellenbosch University. The Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s Energy Institute is a leader in research in the field of electricity, and is also responsible for a regional publication relating to domestic use, DUE. A unit based on the Bellville campus of CPUT teaches courses related to renewable energy. The South African Renewable Energy Technology Centre (SARETEC) offers courses such as Wind Turbine Service Technician and Solar Photovoltaic Service Technician and various short courses such as Bolting Joint Technology. By the end of 2016, more than 1 500 people had attended courses at SARETEC. In November 2016, SARETEC became the home of the Solar Academy, with the support of German solar energy company, maxx|solar energy. The Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies is at the University of Stellenbosch, while the University of Cape Town has the Energy Research Centre. The University of the Western Cape is doing research on the possibilities of hydrogen as an energy source. A programme run by Green Cape claims to have engineered 21 000 tons in fossil greenhouse gas savings over five years through its Western Cape Industrial Symbiosis Programme (WISP). This is the equivalent to annual electricity usage in 5 600 South African households. WISP is a network of 300 businesses to share unused resources and create value from “waste”.
ONLINE RESOURCES African Wind Energy Association: www.afriwea.org Eskom: www.eskom.co.za Green Cape: www.greencape.co.za National Department of Energy: www.energy.gov.za National Nuclear Regulator: www.nnr.co.za South African Photovoltaic Industry Association: www.sapvia.co.za South African Wind Energy Association: www.sawea.org.za Southern African Solar Thermal and Electricity Association (CSP): www.sastela.org Sustainable Energy Africa: www.sustainable.org.za
WESTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2017