CAPE TOWN THIS WEEK: A NEWSLETTER BY THE CITY’S EXECUTIVE MAYOR, PATRICIA DE LILLE
The following is an extract from a speech delivered by the City’s Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille, at the Energy Efficiency Forum this morning, 16 March 2016. Cape Town’s Energy Efficiency Forum has been helping commercial buildings and operations with practical ‘know-how’ since it was launched in 2009 by the City, in partnership with Eskom and the South African Property Owner’s Association. The forum is co-funded by Old Mutual, and supported by several other organisations.
It gives me great pleasure to address the Energy Efficiency Forum at a time when I am really excited about all the opportunities available to us to become more energy secure.Energy efficiency is the cornerstone of the City of Cape Town’s Energy2040 goals and the foundation of our action plan targets for 2020.
These targets and plans are crucial for the sustainability of our city and to our climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts.
We need to intensify these efforts now, as following Eskom or a business-as-usual trajectory will result in a doubling of energy consumption and emissions and a tenfold increase in energy costs to the Cape Town economy by 2040.
Such a future would make Cape Town extremely vulnerable to external impacts and shocks and the increased emissions would further contribute to human-induced climate change.
Our Energy2040 goals model a more resilient, lower carbon, resource-efficient and equitable future for Cape Town.
Businesses and major property owners have a pivotal role to play in helping us achieve our goal of an overall reduction of 37% in carbon emissions – 21% of which can be achieved through energy efficiency alone.
The City has set ambitious targets and I am determined to push the boundaries and learn from other leading cities how to implement effective energy security programmes.
We have to do more with less.
Our 2040 energy modelling shows that a 16% reduction in energy consumed per economic unit is absolutely possible (both in terms of transport fuels and electricity).
So my call to the commercial sector is to work with us, work more efficiently, and aim to use 16% less energy by 2040.
I want to encourage you not to go off the grid but to use photovoltaic (PV) panels to become energy producers.
The commercial sector has already done very well in terms of energy efficiency and I commend you all for your efforts so far.
You have helped to keep our electricity use below 2007 levels for many years now, and helped make Cape Town the city with the lowest electricity use per capita.
In the City of Cape Town, we are leading by example and reducing electricity consumption by retrofitting the lights in our buildings, as well as our traffic and street lights.
Energy efficiency retrofits have been conducted on 32 buildings.
All 1 500 traffic lights now have efficient LED bulbs and more than 25 000 street lights have been retrofitted.
These initiatives, conducted progressively over the past six financial years, have saved over 70 000 Megawatt hours, which translates into savings of over R100 million and almost 70 000 less tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Future projects will bring further savings too. The lighting retrofitting of the Civic Centre is currently under way and is scheduled for completion in April.
Around 20 000 light fittings, most of them over 35 years old, are being upgraded to LED technology, with occupancy sensors linked to timers and daylight harvesting.
The payback period is less than three years, and the electricity demand saving of 1,2 Megawatts will save an additional R6 million in the first year, and more than R36 million over the next five years.
With regard to our organisational development plan, we will no longer just be distributors of electricity, but we are now going to add electricity generation to our mandate too.
We are driving an energy future which is cleaner, more localised and more diversified.
We are also engaging with the National Government on building our own renewable energy plants, purchasing directly from independent power producers (IPPs), and bringing natural gas to the Western Cape.
The City of Cape Town is the only city in the country so far with a feed-in tariff for small-scale embedded generation from rooftop solar photovoltaic systems, which allows residents and businesses to feed excess electricity back into the City’s grid.
My dream is to see all households and businesses in Cape Town generating electricity from panels on their roofs. But this will require a paradigm shift in the way we treat electricity distribution in the City of Cape Town.
As much I want to see all households and businesses generating electricity, I would also like see the City’s electricity grid being utilised as an efficient storage and distributor of that electricity.
I therefore implore you to work with the City in making this dream a reality because that will ultimately lead to an efficient energy system for the city as a whole in which the energy needs of poor households are also addressed.
The City has already signed small-scale embedded electricity generation contracts with Black River Park Investments and 17 other major commercial industrial customers who are able to feed electricity generated from PV systems into the City’s grid, while the contracts for Pick ‘n Pay and Vodacom are in the process of being finalised.
In addition, we also signed contracts with 43 residential customers who are able to feed into the City’s grid in a legal and responsible manner.
I am pleased that this forum is focusing on the requirements for safe and legal PV systems and will host a market place where more people can learn about PV systems from our local service providers.
Another vital component of our energy security programme has been the installation of more than 43 000 solar water heaters on roofs across Cape Town.
The solar water heater programme has so far added R774 million into the economy and in this last year alone has saved almost 120 000 MWh of electricity, resulting in savings of over R256 million to residents.
The sector that accounts for the greatest overall use of energy, however, is the transport sector.
We urgently need to see a modal shift from private to public transport, more efficient vehicles on the road, and higher occupancy levels in private vehicles.
Cape Town has started a process to procure our first fleet of electric buses later this year.
If all goes according to plan, Cape Town will be the first municipality in the country to benefit from the latest alternative fuel technology and one of the first cities in Africa to use electric buses for public transport.
In addition to zero carbon emissions as a result of using solar-powered charging stations for the buses, a green fleet holds numerous other advantages.
Transport for Cape Town is exploring the most appropriate mechanism for the procurement of solar technology to offset the energy required for the electric bus fleet, thereby further reducing emissions.
We are also engaging with cities like Stockholm where they utilising sewage to generate bio-gas for their bus fleet.
Similarly, in Cape Town, we are comprehensively looking at ways in which we can use all of our waste streams in the city far more effectively as a resource.
In closing, while we may not be experiencing load-shedding at the moment, we still face major national electricity supply constraints and if the economy picks up again there is the very real problem of supply not being able to meet demand.
We can only address these long-term challenges effectively and faster by working together.
Time is against us and we are prepared to go it alone to save the Western Cape if there are no quicker responses from the National Government about our requests to procure power from IPPs.
However, through this forum, the City is committed to finding the best ways to collaborate with business and organisations such as SANEDI, the GBCSA and GreenCape to achieve a more sustainable and secure energy future.
Thank you to our forum partners for your collaborative efforts and for promoting this forum and encouraging greater energy efficiency in operations linked to your networks.
This forum is an excellent example of how we can make progress possible together.