The Cape Town city council is spending almost R13 million assessing the viability of a natural gas distribution network‚ including converting existing power plants to run on gas.
The study is being funded by the US Trade and Development Agency‚ and is due to be completed by early 2019.
Mayor Patricia de Lille said on Friday that Cape Town wanted to pioneer a new approach for the role of cities in supplying energy.
“It is our intention to play a greater role in fostering a dynamic energy market‚ and this study will help us understand the role that gas can play in supporting such a market‚” she said.
“It is clear that gas can play a complementary role to renewables in helping us balance the load and reduce our carbon emissions.”
US consul-general Virginia Blaser‚ who signed the feasibility study agreement with De Lille‚ said it was part of a long-term partnership with the Western Cape and Cape Town‚ aimed at driving economic growth.
“I’m proud Americans are working with South Africans to find innovations‚ resources‚ and opportunities toward creative solutions in the region‚” she said.
The City of Cape Town aims to generate at least 300MW of electricity from natural gas or cleaner supply options by 2020‚ and decided last year to divest from fossil fuel assets and companies in favour of greener investments.
“We have also taken the minister of energy and the National Energy Regulator of South Africa to court to fight for our right to procure clean energy directly from independent power producers‚” said De Lille.
The gas study will be done by Featherwood Capital‚ which De Lille said had extensive knowledge of the North American and international liquefied natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas industries‚ as well as the natural gas transportation and distribution markets.
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