Economic Development in Cacadu fueled by “green” energy
The Cacadu District Municipality has taken great strides on the renewable energy front in view of expanding its economic development efforts, aimed at bringing about socio-economic upliftment and job creation.
Prior to embarking on this initiative, the Cacadu District Municipality undertook a rapid assessment of the area in order to identify areas that offered potential for the cultivation of “green” energy.
Among the areas identified was the Blue Crane Route Local Municipality, where the current lack of a sufficient energy supply is hampering economic and housing development. Research provided ample evidence of the availability of consistent wind patterns, a well-known requirement of renewable energy production. A number of projects are poised for take-off in the Blue Crane Route area, with the first being the generation of hydro-electricity on micro / mini sites. The Blue Crane Development Agency (BCDA) has already identified the viability of eight potential sites for the project, the initial site requiring an estimated investment of R70 million. The initial site, Cascades, has the potential to generate 3.85MW of electrical energy, which would be greatly beneficial to the energy demand on the municipality.
The BCDA, together with the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Stellenbosch University, has also undertaken the establishment of a Wind Energy Research and Training Facility in Somerset East, due to its excellent wind profile and ease of access to the municipal grid. The entities together developed a business plan for the establishment of a 1 MW wind farm consisting of 20 x 50 kW wind turbines. The facility will allow for further research, testing and training to be done on the renewable energy front, while also opening the door for job creation in the district through ongoing operational expenditure.
Municipal Manager of the Cacadu District Municipality, Ted Pillay, says that, “Although these projects and renewable energy sites around the District aid the Municipality in creating a safer and ‘greener’ environment, a large part of the Municipality’s focus lies in ensuring that these projects create employment opportunities and aid economic development in the area. Jobs will firstly be created during the construction process on the various plants needed and thereafter on maintenance”.
Pillay further stated that the municipality is involved in the configuration of community trusts for a number of areas where renewable energy projects are established. This is a requirement by the Department of Energy, which stipulates that renewable energy projects benefits the community and aids socio-economic development in the area.
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