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South Africa: 'Pioneering’ Municipality signs Renewable Energy Memorandum of Understanding

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality was hailed as a pioneering local government institution for its determined drive to ensure the implementation of the most advanced Renewable Energy sources for its residents and businesses.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with successful bidders, Enercon India, Thermo-Rec and Lereko, was signed today, after pre-feasibility studies by the different consortia indicated that the Programme, amounting to approximately R9 billion, is viable. This involves the established of Wind Farms, Solar Water Heating systems, electricity generation from Biomass and Landfill Gas, Water purification, as well as a 400 mW Co-generation plant, which is seen to be an energy source that could improve and assist the electricity requirements on the national grid and especially those in the Eastern Cape and the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ). The signing of the MOU is considered to be the most important step, at this stage, to ensure the implementation of this highly ambitious and inspiring Programme.

Attendants of a two-day workshop, held on the 28th and 29th of August at Pine Lodge, said the Municipality is a leader in its field, as an initiative to establish Renewable Energy sources on such a huge scale, was never attempted in South Africa.

Currently Nelson Mandela Bay has a maximum electricity distribution capacity of 610 mW, which is expected to increase to an estimated capacity of between 2 500 and 5 000 mW in ten year’s time. The Coega IDZ is considered to be the biggest contributor to this expected massive increase in electricity demand. The steps of the Municipality to start now with a process of getting alternative Energy Resources is therefore of utmost importance, as forward-thinking initiatives, such as this, can avert a possible Electricity Energy Crisis in the future.

During the presentation of the Lereko Consortium, their representative indicated that the Stellenbosch Municipality enquired about the Municipality’s initiative and expressed the intention of copying this model of Renewable Energy generation. Lots of international interest have been expressed to create factories in Nelson Mandela Bay to manufacture the products necessary to develop and maintain the Renewable Energy plants, especially since the Municipality is pioneering in getting this Programme off the ground.

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s Deputy Executive Mayor Bicks Ndoni said at a press conference, held at Jenny’s Room, City Hall that it is non-negotiable that local people must be employed when big business opportunities are created by the local authority.

“It must be beneficial to our community in more than one way. By ensuring job opportunities we will put those benefiting, in a position to directly contribute to the economy of the city, as well as providing them with an environmentally friendly energy source,” Ndoni added.

The Solar Water Heating systems can especially be meaningful in suburbs where the poorest of the poor currently resides, particularly those residents who never had hot water from a tap.

Wind data was gathered at Bird Island, Port Elizabeth Airport, Coega Industrial Development Zone, Cape Receife, Deal Party and Schoenmakerskop, amongst others to be sure of the best place to establish a Wind Farm.

Benefits of Renewable Energy sources for Nelson Mandela Bay, incorporating Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage and Despatch, include:
  • Growing investor interest globally, which make the projects much more viable and sustainable,
  • Compliance with the South African National Policy on Renewable Energy as well as International Environmental Policy,
  • Development of some of the spares or parts to be used in the different developments,
  • Infrastructure investments from the Municipality’s capital budget,
  • An reliable energy source, and;
  • No capital cost to the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.

Additional information: Nelson Mandele Municipality
News date: 30/08/2006

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