The City of Cape Town and the close surrounding municipalities are
at a slight advantage to other parts of South Africa when it comes
At times when Eskom calls for Stage 1 or stage 2 loadshedding
nationally, lucky Capetonians can keep the lights on and the fridge
running for a little longer (there is still loadshedding, but at
times it is greatly reduced or it bypasses Cape Town completely)
due to the Steenbras dam and its pumped-storage hydroelectricity
Nestled high above Gordon’s Bay sits the Steenbras dam and deep
under the facility sits the hydroelectrical unit which generates
the much needed electricity at times of peak usage or during
The very simple system works by holding water in an upper dam and
then releasing it to a lower dam through a series of pipes. On its
journey to the lower dam the water passes through turbines which is
connected to a generator to produce electricity which can then be
supplied to the local grid.
During off peak usage times the water is then pumped from the lower
dam back up to the higher dam in order for the process to start
This method of generating electricity enables storage of
electricity and can actually save energy. A huge bonus is that it
can also be turned on quickly at peak times or in the case of South
Africa, during loadshedding!
Also at Cape Towns disposal is the Roggebaai Gas Turbine and the
Athlone Gas Turbine, these can also be used to generate electricity
but over much shorter time periods. These two use much more
expensive fuel (Aviation Jet-A1), and after the Steenbras
hydroelectric dam has been fully utilised they are not used as
Whilst the municipality might not be able to stop the loadshedding
it can certainly make your life easier.
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Barry Blomkamp Nd. Bsc (UL)
Professional Public Speaker, Trainer and Corporate Entertainer,
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For your Strategic Planning sessions, Management or Sales meetings,
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Cape Town, South Africa.