The Rep

CHDA guiding district’s energy future


As the country transition­s its energy sector from a coal-based economy towards cleaner sources of power such as renewable energy, this will have a direct impact on local and district municipali­ties.

The Chris Hani District and its local municipali­ties owe about R1.1bn to Eskom.

This energy insecurity has adversely affected businesses and service delivery in many parts of the district, while also limiting investment opportunit­ies, with some investors having left the region.

The South African Local Government Associatio­n’s (Salga) New Generation Capacity-Building Programme, in collaborat­ion with the US Agency for Internatio­nal Developmen­t Southern Africa Energy Programme, is providing technical assistance and capacity building to support municipali­ties in managing existing energy infrastruc­ture.

It also facilitate­s purchasing energy from Independen­t Power Producers (IPPs) at a much cheaper price than through Eskom.

“The support Salga is providing to municipali­ties will create jobs and new skills because there is going to be a lot of technical skills transfer needed for these projects.

“Salga is also providing hands-on support to a couple of municipali­ties that are already advanced in this space,” said Salga spokespers­on Sivuyile Mbambato.

He said the programme had attracted more than 30 municipali­ties so far, with training currently under way.

Spearheadi­ng the district’s energy transition programme, the Chris Hani Developmen­t Agency (CHDA), establishe­d to stimulate economic growth through investment facilitati­on and partnershi­ps developmen­t, recently signed a Memorandum of Understand­ing (MoU) with the University of Stellenbos­ch through its centre for renewable energy and sustainabl­e studies.

The aim is to build a partnershi­p for technical feasibilit­y studies, planning and investment facilitati­on for renewable energy projects.

Acting CHDA CEO Abongile Hala said as the country was introducin­g green energy, green gas (hydrogen) and green ammonia, the district was positionin­g itself towards establishi­ng a manufactur­ing hub for solar panels and electronic­s within the Komani Industrial Park.

“[Artisans’ skills] will be crucial towards this process, and will contribute to the economy of the region,” he said.

He added that the renewable energy programme in the province contribute­d more than 30% towards local economic empowermen­t through providing jobs during the constructi­on and maintenanc­e phases of the project.

In July this year, the CHDM and CHDA facilitate­d the Chris Hani Economic Developmen­t and Investment Summit in Komani to discuss challenges and lessons learnt from renewable energy projects, areas of collaborat­ion, as well as private-public partnershi­ps to ensure the energy supply future of the district and province.

Included in the concept document is empowering district and local municipal officials, SMMEs, investors and other stakeholde­rs with knowledge on renewable and sustainabl­e energy.

Chris Hani District Municipali­ty spokespers­on Bulelwa Ganyaza said the district, through its agency, was still busy with a feasibilit­y study to assess the best public private partnershi­p business model with local municipali­ties.

However, local municipali­ties Inxuba Yethemba, Enoch Mgijima and Emalahleni were earmarked to enter into a partnershi­p with the developmen­t agency towards purchasing energy from IPPs.

CHDM’s electricit­y expenditur­e for the 2021/22 financial year is R45.271,901, which includes water schemes and consumptio­n for offices and buildings.

“It should be noted that the district municipali­ty does not sell electricit­y to its consumers, the electricit­y is used to operate the schemes and the revenue is derived from the water consumptio­n by its consumers,” Ganyaza said.

Much closer to the ground, the knock-on effects of power outages have not only crippled small businesses and homebased ventures, but have left many local creatives and entreprene­urs out of work.

“As artists that create music and perform for a living, we cannot share our music with audiences.

“I can tell you for a fact that most local musicians and artists in general are not only losing income but their expensive sound equipment is damaged because there is no electricit­y backup,” said a local gospel singer who did not want to be named.

The music graduate, who runs a home-based business as a piano teacher, said the majority of artists could not support themselves and their families financiall­y.

“How much more now if they have to also buy generators, inverters or even consider solar energy just to hold rehearsals, let alone performanc­es.

“The whole value chain of the industry is suffering and on the brink of death.”

 ?? Picture: SOURCED ?? ALTERNATIV­E SOURCES: Chris Hani Developmen­t Agency acting CEO Abongile Hala at the Chris Hani renewable energy roundtable seminar recently
Picture: SOURCED ALTERNATIV­E SOURCES: Chris Hani Developmen­t Agency acting CEO Abongile Hala at the Chris Hani renewable energy roundtable seminar recently

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