Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to footer

Green Energy

27 June 2023 Media Release: The Garden Route DM is becoming more Energy Efficient by the day

Media Release: The Garden Route DM is becoming more Energy Efficient by the day

For Immediate Release
27 June 2023

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) is progressing swiftly with enhancing its energy efficiency and demand side management within the region. A GRDM project, which spans over a three-year period, focuses on reducing energy consumption and costs, while promoting the use of clean and sustainable energy sources.

Based on the discussions held during the GRDM Green Energy Summit at Fancourt in 2018, the GRDM recognises its role in leading the way toward a more sustainable future. By implementing energy management systems and installing reasonable, energy-efficient technologies, the municipality aims to deliver services that effectively reduce electricity consumption.

With the success of a funding application of R14 million from the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), the GRDM has been able to replace outdated technologies with energy-efficient ones. Budget allocations for the project are as follows: R5 million for the past financial year (ending 30 June 2023), R4 million for 2023/2024, and R5 million for 2024/2025.

The first phase of the project focused on replacing lighting systems and dated air conditioners in all municipal buildings. This short-term goal aims to improve energy efficiency and reduce consumption and costs. Simultaneously, streetlights at GRDM resorts are being retrofitted to align with the municipality’s commitment to sustainable practices. The Department of Planning and Development, led by Mr. Passmore Dongi, oversees the project’s implementation.

To date, significant progress has been made. All lights at the York Street head-office and Mission Street (Community- and Roads Services) have been changed, air conditioners at York Street and Mossel Bay office have been replaced, and street lights at De Hoek Mountain Resort will be replaced before December.

To raise awareness among employees and the community about energy conservation, the Communication Unit of GRDM distributed posters, coasters, license disks, cups, and t-shirts. Furthermore, the municipality plans to conduct an online training session to educate staff members on energy-saving practices that they can also implement in their homes.

To facilitate effective energy management, GRDM will during the next phase, install power metering systems to monitor the energy consumption of lights, air conditioners, and plugs. With this data, the municipality will be able to identify peak energy consumption periods and optimize load shifting to reduce electrical grid strain.

GRDM remains committed to achieving energy efficiency and sustainability goals.

Caption of feature image: Installed new air conditioning unit.


30 November 2022 Media Release: GRDM De Hoek Mountain Resort transitioning to a green accommodation facility

Media Release: GRDM De Hoek Mountain Resort transitioning to a green accommodation facility

For Immediate Release
29 November 2022

As part of its strategic objectives, Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) is keeping to its promise of being a leading district in pursuing green energy. In 2017, GRDM installed a 150kwh solar system on its parking lot at its George head-office. Now the municipality has done it again at their resort situated 35 km outside Oudtshoorn, De Hoek Mountain Resort.

On 25 November 2022, the GRDM Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen, the GRDM Municipal Council and officials launched this initiative with stakeholders to celebrate this event.

Municipal Manager, Monde Stratu, during his address said that with the summits that GRDM hosted over the past few years, this event is a result of one of the summits, the Green Energy Summit. The Summit contributes to the municipality’s Growth and Development goals. Through these initiatives, Stratu said: “We look at what is it that we can do as an entity to reduce our carbon footprint, reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and to produce energy, so that we can reduce our municipal bills of our own properties and buildings”. Adding to these words, Stratu added: “we have to ensure that our facilities (resorts and buildings) are gradually taken off the grid of ESKOM, so that we can reach a point where we are independent and to sell back to ESKOM the electricity that we produce from our own sources”. Stratu also used the opportunity to extend words of appreciation to Passmore Dongi, Project Manager at GRDM and the Unit, for the efforts that they have put into this project.

During an emotional speech, Passmore Dongi, GRDM’s Project Manager responsible for renewable energy, praised the Municipal Manager and his management team, as well as the Executive Mayor, Ald. Memory Booysen and Council for their support with the implementation of the project. He also emphasised the importance of ideas and the potential they have to become reality. He noted: “You can only do something when you dream.” Therefore, “dream as many times as you can,” he said.

Dongi explained that De Hoek Mountain Resort’s current electricity bill amounts to R45 000,00 per month. However, in two years’ time, GRDM might only be spending R5 000,00 and the solar system would have already paid for itself. “What we ultimately want to see is a district that is energy-secure,” he said. Dongi added that most of these projects cannot be achieved by GRDM on its own. He thanked the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) for the funding made available for the Energy Master Plan that will direct the GRDM in going forward in terms of Green Energy projects. “The idea is to reduce energy consumption by 80 to 90% at the resort,” he explained.

Menno Sulsters, Director and Project Manager at SEM Solutions, said that it had been a long road, but a worthwhile journey. In technical terms, he explained how the small-scale embedded generation system operates. In conclusion he said: “During this summer period, the system will generate extra energy that will be sold back to the Oudtshoorn Municipality”.

Alderman Booysen during his keynote address, stated: “We are giving strategic leadership, often on behalf of other municipalities, and at other times for ourselves, so that GRDM continues to be unique”. In addition, Mayor Booysen noted that GRDM has made many promises since 2016, and has “given hope to the people of the Garden Route.” He also touched on the significance of district municipalities and referred to the ongoing debate over their existence. “Every time these debates come up,” he said: “I would say to my colleagues, ‘you may think what you want; while district municipalities still exist, we as GRDM are striving to be different’”.

In addition he said: “The people of the Garden Route need the GRDM and the GRDM has shown that it works for the people of the Garden Route. Adding to the words of Dongi, he said: “Even if we dream, we must wake up to implement the dream and this is exactly what the GRDM has proven all along”.

Before the ribbon-cutting ceremony, in his final remarks, Mayor Booysen encouraged all Councillors present with the following words: “This GRDM Council, your legacy must stand. We must reach a stage that no matter who comes next, they must not be able to dismantle what we have done. Whoever comes next must continue this journey and the GRDM must remain standing”.

Deputy Executive Mayor, Ald. Gert van Niekerk extended words of appreciation to all stakeholders, councillors and officials present to witness the launch of this ground-breaking project. In closing he said: “It was an honour and privilege to be part of this historic occasion”. He praised and congratulated the Municipal Manager and the GRDM team who had the vision to implement this project.

The ground-mounted, grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) system was installed, along with a grid-connected battery system, as a pilot installation that will demonstrate how a resort can save up to 90% on energy costs. A detailed study informed the decision, yielding that the optimum solar PV capacity is 45kWp together with a 160kWh/24kW battery system. With this system, the facility can be powered by solar energy while also charging the batteries, as it generates power during the day.

In the case of fully charged batteries, excess PV power is exported to Oudtshoorn Municipality’s grid, and De Hoek Mountain Resort is reimbursed. A grid-tied battery storage system will discharge and release energy into De Hoek’s electrical reticulation at night, ensuring that no electricity will be exported to maximize self-consumption during the day.

In total, three (3) tables of locally produced mounting structures were installed on concrete foundations, each holding 28, 28, and 26 PV modules respectively of 550Wp each. The Solar PV modules are also locally assembled, meeting the Department of Trade Industry and Competition’s local content requirements.

Now that De Hoek Mountain Resort is powered by renewable energy, it can boast of providing environmentally friendly holiday accommodation.

GRDM will continue to make all its buildings and properties eco-friendly.

Feature Image: Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen, in front of the Solar System structures at the De Hoek Mountain Resort.


13 June 2022 Media Release: Garden Route Skills Mecca Focuses on Renewable Energy

Media Release: Garden Route Skills Mecca Focuses on Renewable Energy

For Immediate Release
13 June 2022

The fifth quarterly Garden Route Skills Mecca (GRSM) Forum was held virtually on in May 2022 and focused on renewable energy strategies for the Garden Route.

This follows a fruitful engagement Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) had with the Energy & Water Sector Education Training Authority  (EWSETA) on Tuesday, 17 May 2022.  During the engagement, EWSETA expressed its desire to support renewable energy projects in the Garden Route, which is in line with its support of Just Energy Transition (JET),  Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ), and the work done in South Africa by The South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA).

EWSETA has a significant demand-based focus, and it is important for them to determine what the needs are of employers and businesses. They receive a limited skills levy income and need to partner with other agencies to address this challenge. This is why they’ve agreed soon enter into a memorandum of understanding with GRDM.

During his opening remarks, the GRSM Forum chairperson, Ald. De Vries remarked that renewable energy is gaining momentum as countries around the world are increasingly understanding the benefits it offers.

During the forum, Mr. Warrick Pierce, Technical Leader on Energy Systems Modeling at the Energy Centre of CSIR, presented the Draft Municipal Electricity Master Plan for the GRDM. The Draft document was funded by GIZ and co-funded by the CSIR and is considered to be a mini Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).

Mr. Pierce noted that the plan looks at different possible energy futures and the employment opportunities it may hold. Furthermore, the plan’s focus is twofold as it looks at each municipality individually in the region and the Garden Route as a whole to achieve optimisation.

To draft plan addresses issues of future demand usage and that municipalities need to know their customers – their past behaviors towards energy and how this is changing in terms of self-generation.  There seems to be clear indication that Solar PV is the priority option for the Garden Route to consider. The Draft Energy Master Plan will be tabled to the GRDM Council this month for adoption and a media release about it will be issued.

The final presentation was done by Kirsten Freimann, from GIZ, who is the Head of Project: Career Path Development for Employment (CPD4E), which is a new 3-year program that started in June.

The program aims to address two major concerns identified by GIZ, which are the economic recession and the high youth unemployment rate plaguing South Africa. With the help of the Swiss Development Agency, The German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development Government was able to raise €10.5 million for the project.

CPDE4E strives to improve the employability of the youth by unlocking employment potentials by supporting entrepreneurship and SME development in township economies, as well as (ecologic) industrial parks.

The transition from learning to earning will be done by matching soft skills with entrepreneurship training with specific measures in place for girls and women.

Demand-driven TVET/ skills development will improve delivery capacities, through lecturers, in-company mentors, short skills programs, new occupational profiles, and curricula development. It is anticipated that it will strengthen private sector involvement in agile training interventions. This could lead to job creation and meeting demands.

18 August 2021 Media Release: Garden Route DM hosts successful Waste and Biomass Beneficiation Conference 

Media Release: Garden Route DM hosts successful Waste and Biomass Beneficiation Conference

For Immediate Release
18 August 2021

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), in partnership with the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Western Cape Economic Development Partnership and Climate Neutral Group, concluded a very successful Waste and Biomass Beneficiation Conference on 12 August 2021.

During his opening remarks, Ald. Memory Booysen said that he was confident that the GRDM would be setting the tone for the Garden Route to become the most resilient and progressive in the Western Cape and South Africa. Mayor Booysen stated that the GRDM regards energy remained a central part of what was being explored during the Conference. “Beneficiation is key for us to become sustainable – we already tick many of the boxes and we have the political will to carry it through,” he said.

During the Conference, it was evident that there is an appetite for developing waste and biomass beneficiation solutions and how it can benefit the Garden Route to form part of a new drive to go green with a selection of technologies. These technologies include alien invasive plants (AIPs) and general waste as a resource. Some applications discussed during the Conference included the manufacturing of syngas or ethanol, to produce Black Pellets or carbon-rich material produced during a pyrolysis process for agricultural use, generating energy (electricity) and many other applications.

Twenty-four (24) industry experts presented their topics under the following main conference themes:

  • The Waste and Biomass situation in the Garden Route and Western Cape
  • Completing the value chain — keeping the Cluster sustainable and looking after the environment
  • Logistics and infrastructure
  • Turning Waste and Biomass into Value
  • Finance and Development options

The Conference covered a wide variety of topics to assist technology and solution providers with access to all the essential facts and numbers needed to build a true business development project, based on tangible collaboration opportunities in a potential Waste Beneficiation Cluster or precinct. Close to 180 delegates (including presenters and organisers) attended the Conference with representation from the Private Sector, Government, Investors, NPOs and Academia.

During his closing remarks and unpacking of the steps to follow the Conference, GRDM Municipal Manager, Mr Monde Stratu thanked the organisers and said: “We invite all stakeholders to participate in formulating a strategic framework and action plan for the invasive biomass economy in South Africa and more specifically the Garden Route.” Stratu also stated that the development of a new brand of Small-, Medium and Micro Enterprises would be a critical component to ensure that the biomass value chain of the region is elevated beyond the supply and demand towards a restorative economic model.

The GRDM and its partners are keenly looking forward to taking the next steps forward to find solutions to minimise waste and maximise value.

Download all presentations here.

View the conference:


Garden Route Municipality hosts 6th Green Energy Forum

The 6th Garden Route Green Energy Forum was recently held at the Council Chambers of Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) with representatives from municipalities in the Garden Route district, as well as relevant stakeholders in attendance.

(FLTR) Mr Passmore Dongi, Project Manager and Chairperson of the Green Energy Forum at GRDM, Ms Tando Gauzela, Secretariat of the Green Energy Forum and Mr Herald Basson, Director: Technical Services at Hessequa Municipality, during the Forum.

During these meetings, green energy opportunities are continuously identified and the realities of green energy in the district discussed. When the GRDM Communication Unit conducted an interview with chairperson of the forum, Mr Passmore Dongi, Project Manager of GRDM, it became evident that the aim of the forum fits into the bigger picture – to reach two of seventeen sustainable development goals of the United Nations, which are: Goal 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy; as well as Goal 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth.  Mr Dongi stated:  “These two goals are interconnected, as we want to use green energy to drive employment creation through this green energy initiative and bring sustainable growth”.

GRDM path to a more sustainable energy future

 In the 1st State of the District Address delivered by the Executive Mayor, Cllr Memory

Booysen, on 12 April 2019, Mayor Booysen emphasised our collective future – in particular, about the challenges we face in developing a secure, more resilient and sustainable energy system in the Garden Route region. In light of this, Mayor Booysen added that the GRDM Economic Development and Planning Department is doing a scenario approach to energy as the driver of the local economy.  “The scenarios cannot predict the future, but they can give us the tools to anticipate what could happen. In other words, they deepen our strategic thinking,” he said.

Mayor Booysen continued by saying that when looking at the future energy challenge and in aligning our functions and mandates, as stated in Section 84 of the Municipal Structures Act, we believe that three actions should be taken now to get us firmly on the road towards a more sustainable energy system:

  • “Firstly, we need to take advantage of the region’s abundant solar, wave and wind resources;
  • Secondly, we want to support development of renewable energy technology and local manufacturing of components and storage technology to complement the reliability of renewable energy and this will be coupled with human capacity development more especially youth and women; and
  • Thirdly, we need to promote smarter urban planning to reduce energy demand, especially in transportation e.g. manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (EV) in the region and conversion of waste to energy”.

Mayor Booysen added that around the world, we have already seen realistic energy policies put in place to prepare for a future in which energy demand will rise. “Therefore the GRDM is taking a pro-active role to address issues of energy and as such – we are the only District Municipality to:

  • held the green energy summit in 2018,
  • launched a Green Energy Forum,
  • currently develop a comprehensive Renewable Energy Master Plan,
  • currently participate in the Small Systems Embedded Generation (SSEG) programme”.

“This goes on to show how much the district value and prioritise renewable energy as the future of the region. The country faces an incredible challenge to meet our future energy demand, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and manage the stresses on our water and food resources,” he added.

Mayor Booysen continued by stating that the GRDM believes governments and industry can take far-sighted actions now that will reap benefits for decades to come. “These actions include taking advantage of the region’s abundant natural resources, localised manufacturing and storage technology, and focusing on smarter urban planning. The District would also like to leverage some of its properties to support this goal of energy sustainability in the region that will, in turn, promote socio-economic development. We therefore remain committed to working with all the stakeholders to realise the region’s ambitious energy objectives of energy driven regional economy, energy driven job creation and energy driven livelihoods”.

Mr Dongi also referred to the various green energy projects that are already up and running or are still in progress, such as the solar park behind the GRDM head-office, the George Municipality that is busy with a process to put up solar panels on their civic centre and also Witsand, near Riversdale, that has a desalination plant powered by solar.  Mr Dongi furthermore made mention about the solar farm that will be built in Oudtshoorn.

“We intend to place much thought into wind energy, biogas, wave energy – as combination of various forms of renewable energy,” he said.

In saying this, Mr Dongi emphasized the diversity and unique characteristics of the Garden Route and how the respective areas in the district can contribute to renewable energy. He made an example of what areas would be most suitable to unlock specific green energy opportunities, e.g. Oudtshoorn and Kannaland areas have the potential for solar energy, due to their long hours of sun, the climate and high temperatures, the coastline has the potential for wave energy and wind, to name a few.

Through all these initiatives, we aim to become a pioneer that will drive the Garden Route nationally as the first district that is going green,” Mr Dongi concluded.



The District would like to encourage all citizens of this region to register their solar systems with the municipality’s SSEG programme.

The next forum meeting is envisaged to take in October 2019.

Green Energy Forum held to discuss potential Green Energy projects

Garden Route District Municipality, on 30 August 2018, hosted a Garden Route Green Energy Forum at its Disaster Management Centre in George. Representatives from the Garden Route District and George Municipalities, the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers (SAIEE), MTO Forestry and Latts University situated in France, attended the meeting.

The main aim of the discussions was to pursue Green Energy projects that would be in the interest of the residents of the Garden Route. These discussions stemmed from the resolutions taken at the Garden Route Green Energy Summit which took place on 11 and 12 April 2018 under at Fancourt in George. This two-day Summit has unpacked potential areas of alternative energy opportunities, which would see the fruition of an instrumental, collaborative, partnership-driven, green and cleaner environment.

Members of the Green Energy Forum who attended the meeting held at the Garden Route District Municipality on 30 August 2018.

At the Green Energy Forum, Mr Johan Dekker from MTO and Mr Pierre Conradie from CMB Engineering made presentations in respect of the Small Scale Embedded Generation Plant, where after SAIEE Southern Cape Centre extended an invitation to the Forum, to visit the MTO Forestry’s 999kVA Steam Turbine Electricity Generation Plant – the biggest Small Scale Embedded Generation Plant in George. The purpose of the site visit was to explore and witness the capacity and operations of the plant for the Forum members to familiarise themselves with relevant information for informed decision making.

The Forum was coordinated by Mr Jason Shaffler from SA-LED in the absence for Mr Gerhard Otto, GRDM Manager, Disaster Management, and is foreseen to be convened on a quarterly basis to discuss progress made towards achieving the resolutions taken at the Green Energy Summit.