Cape Town, the second most populous city in South Africa, is known for its landmarks such as Table Mountain and Cape Point.
Nestled between the ocean and the mountain, with a national park at its heart, it is a city of incredible natural beauty.
For its 4.6 million citizens it is a great place to live and work. There is a host of important supporting infrastructure including four universities, a growing integrated transport system, broadband infrastructure, an award-winning international airport, the country’s second largest port and world-class hospitals and medical facilities.
Cape Town has positioned itself as the focal point for Green Technology in South Africa. Renewable Energy companies have their headquarters in Cape Town across the economic clusters of solar manufacturing, wind turbine-related, electrical manufacturing, fuel supply, professional services and supporting bodies. Foreign direct investment in the renewable energy sector amounted to R5 billion between 2008 and 2017, comprising 18 new projects. IBC Solar, AEG Power Solutions, and Siemens are among the major companies with local headquarters.
The metropolitan government has had ambitious renewable energy targets since 2003 and is a signatory to the C40 Deadline 2020 Programme along with over 100 global cities. This commits the city to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and will require a near complete transition of electricity supply and transport sectors to clean electricity supported by extensive energy efficiency.
The City of Cape Town is also a signatory to the C40 Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment which commits it to achieve carbon neutrality within its own building stock by 2030 and the city’s building stock by 2050. Additionally, the city is improving energy efficiency and renewable energy in municipal operations by retrofitting streetlights, traffic lights and buildings with energy efficient lighting and installing rooftop solar photovoltaic systems.
Capitalizing on Cape Town’s already booming renewable energy and green technology sector, the city is home to the Atlantis Special Economic Zone for green technology manufacturing. This epicenter of greentech activities provides opportunities and enticements to investors from around Africa and the world. In fact, the Atlantis SEZ is expected to attract around R3.7 billion (US $262 million) in investment over the next twenty years.
The purpose of creating the Atlantis SEZ (ASEZ) was to unlock the underlying economic value of existing and underutilized infrastructure through the creation of a greentech manufacturing hub. Opportunities within the green economy include the uptake of resource efficiency technologies and job creation. Key sectors are renewable clean energy; sustainable transport; water management; waste management; sustainable agriculture/land management; and green buildings.
ASEZ supports the manufacturing sectors to become suppliers and component manufacturers for the renewable energy sector, in particular, independent power producers in the government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).
To reduce the impact of the national supply crisis, the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Government collaborated on the Energy Security Game Changer programme, which ended in 2019, to drive energy efficiency and a rapid diversification of the energy supply mix. Renewable and cleaner supply is a key component of this initiative.
Hydrogen in Cape Town
The city is home to local research and development capacity in the form of the three Hydrogen South Africa (HYSA) institutes- HySA Catalysis at the University of Cape Town, HySA Systems at the University of the Western Cape and HySA Infrastructure at North West University. These were established by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) in 2007 to support the South African participation in the nascent, by rapidly developing international platforms in Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies. They focus on ways of harnessing South Africa’s mineral endowments to promote both the hydrogen economy and renewable energy use.
As of June 2020, the City of Cape Town had 18 MVA of approved grid-tied installations commissioned and an estimated 47353kW of PV capacity across the city based on a recent aerial survey. The City of Cape Town in undertaking several solar power initiatives currently:
- The small-scale embedded generation (SSEG) programme where commercial and residential customers are paid for excess generation from their rooftop solar installations at a fixed rate per kWh.
- The installations of solar power at various City owned municipal facilities and buildings (each up to 1MWp) with an aim for a total of 5MWp installed.
- The development of larger scale solar installations (<10MWp) on City owned land with an aim to have ~50MWp installed by 2030.
- Development of both a City and national grid connected Independent Power Producers (IPP) Programme through which the City aims to procure 100 MW-300 MW of solar power by 2030.
- The City is pursuing rooftop, ground mounted and floating solar options.
Cape Town Government
South African Oil & Gas Alliance
Wesgro Trade & Investment
University of Cape Town
Atlantis Cleantech Special Economic Zone
South African Renewable Energy Technology Center