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Nelson Mandela Bay taking the lead in securing a diverse energy mix for the country

THE Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber welcomes the recent announcement by the Department of Energy (DOE) that the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) has been selected as one of two locations for the first phase of government’s Liquefied Natural Gas Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (LNG IPPPP).

With 1 000 MW of the programme allocated to Coega, the investment into Nelson Mandela Bay is expected to total R25-billion, according to the Coega Development Corporation. Richards Bay is the second selected site with a proposed gas-fired generational capacity of 2 000 MW.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber in particular welcomes the job creation possibilities that will be associated with a megaproject of this nature, as well as, the energy security that a gas-to-power project will bring for the region.

Nelson Mandela Bay is positioning itself as the energy hub of South Africa, hosting a basket of strategic energy projects in the region.

In order to grow the economy for the people of Nelson Mandela Bay we need alternative sources of energy to counter the burden of above inflation electricity prices and ensure security of supply to the broad representation of manufacturers and businesses in the region that necessitate electricity at a globally competitive price.

Industry in Nelson Mandela Bay has been affected by its deteriorating competitive edge due to the significant increases in electricity pricing since 2008. Developing the electricity and energy potential of the region would greatly benefit organised business in the Nelson Mandela Bay region.

The Eastern Cape has the potential to host a basket of strategic energy projects securing the future energy supply of the region, including Project Mthombo, the Oil Refinery at the Coega IDZ; the proposed Nuclear Power Plant at Thyspunt; and the Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) facility at Coega – complimented by the already established Dedisa Peaking Power Plant.

Not only will converting more gas to electricity at Coega relieve pressure on the country’s electricity grid, but having gas as an additional utility in the mix, would make industry more cost competitive and therefore boost investor confidence in the region.