In the search for a long term, efficient and sustainable energy solution for the Hessequa region, Hessequa Municipality in partnership with Stellenbosch Good Governance Forum and Stellenbosch University hosted an Energy Summit on 23 and 24 July 2015 in Stillbay.
The goal of the project is to create an independent, renewable and sustainable energy supply that is affordable, available and reliable. This will competitively position the Hessequa region as a business destination with a focus on biotech and clean industries.
To counter the lack of energy and create social and economic sustainability in the Hessequa region a long term plan and pro-active approach is needed. Through innovative thinking and planning this is possible.
Facilitator Prof Erwin Schwella of the University of Stellenbosch, School of Public Leadership stated that: “In creating the alternative and sustainable energy strategy, innovative ideas need to be institutionalised and implemented. The challenge we are facing is not only technological, but institutionalisation. By combining all the technology, governance and business fragments a feasible alternative energy solution is possible.”
Stellenbosch Good Governance Forum facilitated the research and data gathering for the Energy Summit. Professor Wikus van Niekerk explained the energy landscape for the Hessequa region and described the different technological options available. Mr. Steve Carver made clear that co-production is needed rather than hand-outs. We have the technology but we need to co-create in a social space to be sustainable.
A long term strategy plan that spans over more than the five year Integrated Development Plan of the municipality or the appointment of Council should be drawn up that takes into account the National Development Plan, Western Province Strategic Plan, legislation, legal framework and cost effectiveness. The long term strategy plan should address the sustainable alternative energy solutions, the cost effectiveness and the affect it has on economic growth and the community’s quality of live.
On 24 July, delegates were divided into four groups to address the social dimension of the way forward.
Challenges and action steps to address the issues of three pillars were tackled:
1. technology innovation,
2. governances and
3. economic/business innovation
The outcome of the discussions will be taken into account to compile a strategic guideline in the way forward and help in establishing and envisioning the way forward for an alternative energy for Hessequa.
Municipal Manager for Hessequa Municipality Johan Jacobs stated that this summit opens new ideas and solutions, not only for Hessequa Municipality, but for local authorities throughout South Africa. It is within the mandate for local government to explore new horizons and Hessequa Municipality will continue on this road to ensure better services at lower cost to future inhabitants of the area.