A family-friendly series of virtual event experiences.

Words & IMAGES City of Cape Town

Cape Town Future Energy Festival:

What are some of the ways we can be more conscious and resource-efficient at home and work? What will Cape Town’s energy landscape look like in 10, 20 or 30 years? How will new technology shift the way we use energy? And what role can each of us play in meeting Cape Town’s ambitious target of carbon neutrality and climate resilience by 2050? These are some of the questions that the Cape Town Future Energy Festival hopes will spark conversations and get Capetonians thinking about creating a more sustainable, resilient and equitable city.

Organised by the City of Cape Town’s Sustainable Energy Markets department, the festival is currently running as a virtual programme with a physical event planned for early 2021. The line-up of activities aims to educate residents on how to make sustainable choices while creating dialogue inspired by climate change, energy efficiency, renewable energy, water-saving, waste reduction, smart transport and sustainable living.

The energy landscape is rapidly changing and as we continue to operate under the threat of load shedding, new technologies are being adopted and international pressure to reduce our carbon emissions is mounting. The City’s Energy and Climate Change Directorate is committed to providing an energy service that is Clean, Accessible, Reliable, Equitable and Safe (CARES).

Identifying consistent and sustainable ways to use energy effectively is of vital importance, especially since the global Covid-19 crisis has impacted many of Cape Town’s households, as well as our country’s economy. For many households, energy is a significant expense, so in today’s context, energy efficiency and cost-cutting becomes even more relevant. Due to the crisis, issues such as inequality and household resilience have been highlighted anew, so the festival will also look at social and financial sustainability and how to make the city’s energy service accessible to all its residents.

For a city like Cape Town, being carbon neutral is synonymous with creating a cleaner, more equitable, resource-efficient and resilient city.

As part of its commitment to the global pact to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 while increasing climate resilience, the City of Cape Town is developing a Climate Action Plan which sets the pathway to this goal. Reaching this ambitious goal is only possible if every Capetonian understands the role they play and the positive choices they can make in their own homes. The festival sub-events are thus deliberately designed as collaborative platforms, to encourage participation and promote conversation around efficient energy usage and sustainable living in all Cape Town households.

Winner of Watt’s in the Pot? Nandipha Motsa “high fives” host Jarrad Ricketts, with City of Cape Town Councillor Zimkhitha Sulelo (left) and Peter Nordejee (right) of Crown National Food Group.

The festival kicked off with Watt’s in the Pot? – an energy-efficient cooking competition that invited the public to share their delicious recipes using energy-efficient methods and appliances. Six finalists were selected for the live cook-off that took place at the Crown National commercial kitchen under the watchful eyes of host Jarrad Ricketts and celebrity judges Aden Thomas, Liezel van der Westhuizen and Africa Melane. Watch the final cook-off to see the winning recipe and learn some tips along the way on how you can save energy in the kitchen.

The Smart City Kids series is aimed at children aged between four and eight years old and introduces the concepts of energy, waste, water, transport and food to our future sustainability champions. These engaging and interactive shows are not only fun and entertaining but will also teach children ways they can start helping to protect our environment for their future.

Meanwhile, the Future Energy Conversations are geared towards those who want to develop a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities around energy, climate change and sustainability. The series brings together thought leaders in industry and government to discuss the tough questions around these issues, and provides a platform for inspiring case studies on the journey to carbon neutrality by 2050.

The festival will culminate in a physical event to be held outdoors in the first quarter of 2021. The My Clean Green Home exhibit in collaboration with the GBCSA will demonstrate sustainable living in action. The public will have the opportunity to tour a full-sized model home built to operate at net-zero carbon emissions and learn about the possibilities of energy-efficient homes. Another event is the Green Maker Mania, which will provide an opportunity for innovators to share their projects related to sustainability and green technology. The top projects which best demonstrate the Future Energy theme will be showcased on the festival’s various platforms.

Watt’s in the Pot? contestant Nanziwe Mzuzu (right) shows off her energy-efficient cooking skills to judge Liezel van der Westhuizen (left) in the Crown National commercial kitchen during the live cook-off event.
Reshmi Wolvers of GreenCape (left) with Lauren Hermanus Founder and CEO of Adapt for the second Future Energy Conversations (centre), and Mary Haw from the City’s Sustainable Energy Markets Department (right).

As Mayoral Committee member for Climate Change Councillor Maxiti says: “For a city like Cape Town, being carbon neutral is synonymous with creating a cleaner, more equitable, resource-efficient and resilient city. In the process, we learn to thrive on innovation to generate sustainable livelihoods while providing affordable and accessible services to our residents.”


As part of the My Clean Green Home exhibit, the City of Cape Town along with the GBCSA is running a design competition to showcase the ultimate in green living. The competition is targeted at students and professionals of the built environment and aims to showcase how efficient design principals and sustainable materials can be used to build a home that is net-zero carbon in operation. The winning design will be constructed and displayed at the physical festival in early 2021, and members of the public will have the opportunity to tour the home and see the energy efficiency, water-saving and other sustainable and cost-saving measures in action.


• Switch off unused lights and appliances at the wall
• Replace old incandescent lightbulbs with energy-efficient LEDs
• Use green energy by installing solar water heaters and/or solar PV panels
• Use local building materials
• Reduce, reuse, recycle
• Harvest rainwater and reuse greywater
• Invest in low-flow tap fittings and showerheads
• Eat local, seasonal foods and cut down on meat
• Start a compost bin for vegetable waste
• Clear alien invasive plants from your property and replace with indigenous, water-wise species