Cape Town energy futures: Policies and scenarios for sustainable city energy development

Journal Article


Permanent link to this Item
Journal Title

Energy Research Centre

Link to Journal
Journal ISSN
Volume Title

University of Cape Town


University of Cape Town

The purpose of this report is to develop some scenarios for Cape Town’s energy future. The simulation model, the Long-Range Energy Alternatives Planning (LEAP) system, has been used to simulate how energy might develop in Cape Town over the twenty years from 2000 to 2020. These developments are driven not only by the nature of the energy sector itself, but also by broader factors, notably population, household size, economic growth (which may vary by sector) and other factors. The report builds on previous work done on the ‘state of energy’ for Cape Town (CCT & SEA 2003). That report was useful in capturing the current status of energy in the city, informed the City Energy Strategy conference and Cape Town’s own strategy (SEA, CCT & ICLEI 2003) and provided the starting data for this study. This report takes the work further in developing a tool that simulates what might happen to energy in the future, in a business-as-usual case and with policy interventions. A range of policy interventions are selected, and how these would change energy development in the city is examined, compared to a reference case. Interventions were selected based on various criteria, including implementation cost and technical feasibility, environmental priority, and political will. Different policies can be grouped for their sectors – industry, residential, commercial, government and transport – and also combined to form multiple-policy scenarios. These scenarios should be understood as a series of ‘what if’ questions, e.g. what if the City of Cape Town increased efficiency in its own buildings. The scenarios are not any prediction of the future, nor are any of these scenarios considered more likely than others. Instead, we report the implications of different policies and scenarios. The implications for energy, environment (both local pollutants and global greenhouse gases) and development are of particular interest. This study reports the cost implications of different scenarios only to a limited extent, as to do this adequately for many of the scenarios is beyond the scope of the project. Areas where further work is required, including around costing, are also identified.