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Premier assesses Western Cape Government energy interventions

With energy security a major priority of the Western Cape Government (WCG), Premier Alan Winde spent some time this week in Stellenbosch and Saldanha Bay assessing power projects that have been rolled out in collaboration between the provincial government, municipalities, and other partners.

In Cloetesville, Premier visited the Aan-Het-Pad Clinic where a hybrid solar photovoltaic (PV) inverter has been installed. In total, 47 clinics in the province will be fitted with these inverters to ensure essential services are cushioned from load shedding. Charlene Fortuin, Operational Manager at the clinic, explained that cold chain infrastructure and computers remain operational when the power goes out in order to continue to deliver services to residents.

In addition to this, 195 health facilities in the province have generator capacity to continue essential services during power cuts and 10 hospitals have been exempted from up to stage 6 load shedding.

“Schooling is also a key priority area that needs to be protected from the worst of the energy crisis,” Premier Winde said during a visit to Laerskool Cloetesville. The school is benefiting from a hybrid solar PV inverter installation project, run in collaboration with the University of Stellenbosch. Principal Rodger Cupido said that they are saving up to R30 000 a year on their electricity thanks to the power system, that keeps the lights on and computers operating in the administration block and media room. The next phase of the project will be extended to more classrooms. Premier Winde noted, “Once again we are seeing partnerships in action and investments in innovation that are helping us navigate this disastrous energy crisis.”

Late last year, the WCG embarked on the first phase of its project to distribute  load shedding relief packs province-wide to thousands of indigent households, quintile 1-3 schools, and provincial government-funded facilities that care for vulnerable people. The L’Abrie De Dieu Safe House De Dieu received 17 of the nearly 4 000 packs that have been distributed so far.

The Premier and Provincial Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez, visited the facility – that houses and cares for survivors of gender-based violence. They were delighted to see the kits placed in almost every room and office, at the ready for when load shedding strikes.

The kits comprise the following features:

  • Dual charging capability via solar panel or AC cable;
  • Three lighting options;
  • Rechargeable 6 V, 4ah battery;
  • Up to 18 hours of light on a single charge;
  • Battery protection;
  • Wall-hanging mounts; and
  • Emergency USB port charges

Engaging with staff, the Premier thanked them for their selflessness and for all they do to help those in need, despite added challenges like load shedding.

In Saldanha Bay, the Premier toured a clinic that has also been fitted with a hybrid solar PV inverter. He then proceeded to a site where a generator was installed at a water treatment facility. The Saldanha Bay Municipality purchased the generator with funding from the provincial government which ensures that essential services are still delivered during power outages.

While in the town, he also met with Executive Mayor, Andre Truter, and Municipal Manager Heinrich Mettler, along with representatives of ArcelorMittal, who gave him an update on a new energy project planned for the area. At a 50-hectare site that has been earmarked for the development of a 1.5GW gas-to-power project, in partnership with the municipality, he was informed that the tender has been drawn up and will be issued in the coming weeks.

Premier Winde commented, “Exploring new energy sources and projects is very exciting! It shows how in our province we are helping to open up this crucial market, making it easier for investors to become part of the solution to making the Western Cape the first province to end load shedding.”

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