Cape Town City Council pushes for establishment of green technology hub in Atlantis
The City of Cape Town’s Council has supported the Western Cape Government’s application to the National Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for the designation of the Atlantis industrial area as a Green Technology Special Economic Zone.
This is the latest development in the City and its partner’s quest to unlock economic opportunities in this impoverished area, while at the same time contributing to the financial and environmental sustainability of the metro.
If so declared, this will be the Western Cape’s first Green Technology Special Economic Zone and we foresee that this hub will help to drive much-needed job creation. This also forms part of the City’s overarching efforts to ensure that investors increasingly choose Cape Town and the Western Cape as the top investment destination in South Africa. It is also expected that the interest from local and foreign investors in purchasing land in this green technology hub will grow.
In January 2011, the Western Cape Government’s Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDT,) through the Green Cape Initiative, started developing plans to establish a clean technology manufacturing hub in Atlantis.
This initiative was sparked by indications that the National Government was planning to procure large quantities of renewable energy from independent power producers. According to the Integrated Resource Plan for Electricity, proposed investments of between R10 – 20 billion annually over a 20-year period were foreseen.
Wind potential studies conducted over the past decade suggested that the Western Cape had the potential to generate 3,000 MW of wind power and had good solar irradiation potential. The location of renewable energy power plants in the Western Cape held the potential for localising manufacturing in this sector and for the attraction of catalytic investors to attract suppliers.
The City was, therefore, approached to release currently unoccupied land with industrial zoning in Atlantis for the proposed manufacturing hub. On 8 December 2011, the City’s Council approved a process for the establishment of a green technology manufacturing cluster on vacant City-owned land in the Atlantis industrial area. The sale or lease of two designated sites (or portions thereof) by way of a specialised land disposal management system was also approved. This system includes a rapid application and adjudication process available to qualifying applicants.
The City has already sold 7,8 ha of this 68 ha-site to Red Planet Horizon Trading, owned by Gestamp Wind Steel South Africa, to manufacture wind towers. This purchase is part of the City’s quick access-to-land programme for industries operating in the green economy.
To boost efforts in this area further, Council last year approved the Investment Incentive Scheme to boost job creation in Atlantis. Over 30 companies have taken up the incentives, resulting in more than R8 million in savings for companies from financial incentives. R500m in new industry investment has also been leveraged and this has helped to retain over 2 000 jobs.
There are a number of businesses in the pipeline who are looking to establish themselves in Atlantis. Currently on site is Gestamp Renewable Industries (GRI,) a Spanish company with a 100% shareholding in GRI Wind Steel South Africa, creating employment for 220 workers.
The expansion of a can manufacturing company is also underway. A total of 700 potential jobs will be created should the enquiries and pending business decisions materialise, including the number of jobs that the GRI investment has brought into Atlantis.
As an opportunity city, which is dedicated to redress, Atlantis is one of Cape Town’s priority areas.
The DTI’s feasibility study on Atlantis has shown that it is a feasible area for the establishment of a special economic zone.
The city is calling on its partners in the green technology sector to consider investing in Atlantis in order to make progress possible together. A development facilitation team has been established to fast-track investments and to assist potential investors.
Source: Cape Business News