Policies and scenarios for Cape Town's energy future: options for sustainable city energy development

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Journal of Energy in Southern Africa

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University of Cape Town


University of Cape Town

This study examines a set of energy policy interventions, which can make a major contribution to sustainable development for the City of Cape Town – economically, environmentally and socially. Major energy savings can be made from modal shifts in the transport sector, and with efficient lighting. The savings make a contribution to economic development, by freeing up resources. The savings from energy efficiency also have important social benefits in energy savings, reducing energy bills for poor households. From an environmental point of view, implementing the city’s renewable energy target will have significant costs, but these can be partly off-set by selling carbon credits through the Clean Development Mechanism, and will result in indirect health benefits. Targeted interventions can reduce local air pollution, and help Cape Town become a leader in addressing greenhouse gas emissions. Apart from examining the social, economic and environmental dimensions of each policy, this paper compares policies to one another. Of particular interest for sustainable energy development are those policies which are viable in terms of costs, social benefits and the environment. Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) in residential, commercial and government sectors and heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) in commerce and government sectors stand out as policies that have benefits from every angle. The paper builds on previous work done on the ‘state of energy’ for Cape Town and develops a tool that can paint a picture of what might happen to energy in the future. Using the Long-Range Energy Alternatives Planning (LEAP) modelling tool, a set of energy policies have been simulated.