Cape Town will soon be home to a luxury eco-friendly village with no cars and sustainable technologies.
The project, thought to be the first of its kind on the continent, has been designed by architecture firm Swisatec. The R14 billion ($900 million) development will rise on the existing Blue Rock Resort in Somerset West, an area already surrounded by popular wine farms. There are plans for 1,000 apartments, medical centers, spas, boutiques, schools and restaurants.
Cars will be limited to a main road or confined to underground parking lots. Energy efficiency will be a top priority, both through renewable energy sources and established technologies such as LED lights and water management systems.
South Africa has been listed in the top 12 producers of carbon emissions according to a report by environmental organization Groundwork. The report predicts that the average temperature in South Africa will rise by anything between 6 and 12°C by the end of this century. It also explains how water stressed the country is currently and examines the ongoing power crisis.
However Cape Town has set a target to generate 10 — 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, according to Business Day, and even wants to see its residents making their own renewable energy. Construction starts on the 10 year Blue Rock village project in August 2016, and buyers are expected to move in by February 2017.
South Africa has been marred by controlled blackouts in the first part of 2015, when state-run provider Eskom, which generates the vast majority of the power in the country, initiated a program of power cuts it called “load shedding.” The blackouts were blamed on a number of factors, including the delay in the construction of new plants and an ongoing maintenance program on the aging distribution network.
Why are 600 million Africans still without power?
Late last year, Eskom’s CEO promised that the load shedding — which negatively impacted the country’s economy — would cease, and South Africa is now coming off several months of relatively stable electricity supply, with diminishing demand a helping factor. Earlier this year, the country unveiled its first solar-powered airport: located halfway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, George Airport will meet 41% of its energy demand from a brand new 200 square meter solar power plant built on its grounds.