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wind energy and the triple bottom line



creating opportunities for wind energy projects You may not see this in a tourism pamphlet, but South Africa can be a windy place. This is great news for wind energy developers, as South Africa has major potential for a range of wind energy projects. But, the country also has sensitive ecosystems and challenging social issues that need to be addressed. To avoid a social and biodiversity whirlwind, therefore, it is important for companies wishing to invest in wind energy projects to integrate environmental and community concerns at all stages of planning and implementing their development. Ignoring them could be highly detrimental to the company’s reputation and in the long run, the bottom line. The aim of this document is to help wind energy project developers to understand the social and biodiversity considerations applicable to South Africa. It also advises on strategic planning for wind energy projects and helps to guide developers in making the correct decisions to avoid negative environmental impacts and to help local communities. In short it will help turn a potential whirlwind into a breeze for wind energy developers in South Africa.


context the social & biodiversity

SOUTH AFRICA HAS: 7.5% of vascular plants 5.8% of MAMMAL SPECIES 8% OF BIRD SPECIES 4.6% of REPTILE SPECIES 16% of MArine fish species 5.5% of RECORDED INSECT SPECIES

The social and biodiversity challenges in South Africa are unique and complex and must be considered carefully by renewable and wind energy project developers.

If not adequately planned and implemented, wind energy developments can have significant negative impacts on biodiversity and socio-economic development. Projects can also become increasingly financially expensive if their potential social and biodiversity impacts are not considered from the start. It is also important to assess the cumulative impacts on the proposed area and its surroundings resulting from construction of the wind farm and associated/complementary infrastructures, such as transmission lines, access roads and service and maintenance activities.

Social considerations

The manner in which social considerations are incorporated in such projects can have a significant and critically positive impact on social development in the country. Beyond the provision of clean energy, wind farms can really leverage positive socio-economic benefits for local communities, especially the rural and low-income communities.










Future biome range Nama-Karoo Savanna Fynbos Grassland Succulent Karoo Unscpecified

Ecosystem status Critically endangered Endangered Vulnerable Least threatened

Global biodiversity hotspots Maputaland Pondoland/ Albany

Wind distribution and biodiversity in southern Africa

The series of maps here provides an overview of the biodiversity and wind resources in South Africa. Based on these maps, it is evident that there are wind resource areas that support sensitive ecosystems, creating complex land use decisions. Responsible developers can integrate biodiversity considerations into their projects and become key stewards for South Africaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s unique flora and fauna.

Cape Fynbos Succulent Karoo

(DEA 2008 and South African National Biodiversity Institute â&#x20AC;&#x201C; SANBI, 2011.)

Innovative approaches for involving local people as part of construction and operations and investing in skills development and/or community projects will lead to positive relationships between the community and the company. This, in turn, can reduce risk to the operation, ensure government support and generate other opportunities for developments by the company elsewhere in the country. South Africa has an emerging economy with tremendous natural resources and equally tremendous wealth disparity. To help address these challenges, the South African government launched a Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) for 2009 to 2014 with 10 priorities: 1. More inclusive economic growth. 2. Decent work and sustainable livelihoods. 3. Economic and social infrastructure. 4. Rural development, food security and land reform. 5. Access to quality education. 6. Improved health care. 7. The fight against crime and corruption. 8. Cohesive and sustainable communities. 9. Improving public service delivery. 10. Sustainable resource management use and support for the creation of a better Africa. The private sector, including renewable energy developers can make important contributions to these national goals—in fact, their contributions are imperative. Companies looking to operate renewable energy businesses are responding to this need by finding innovative approaches for involving local people and making positive contributions to their environment. They are involving local people in construction and operations and investing in skills development and/or community projects. They are also ensuring that operations have a net positive

Renewable energy, like all sustainable development in South Africa, must respond to the national social development agenda and to the sustainable use of the country’s natural capital impact on the community’s environment and biodiversity and in return are reaping rewards of positive relationships between the community, environmental NGOs, government, and the company. For example, companies are not held up in legal challenges and government support won in one area of operation generates other opportunities for developments by the company elsewhere in the country.

Biodiversity considerations

The latest South Africa State of the Environment Report (issued by the Department of Environmental Affairs – DEA) states that the country has the third highest level of biological diversity in the world. Some 86% of the land is already being used for crop cultivation and livestock. This puts major pressure on the little that is left of the valuable natural environment. Developers in wind energy, therefore, need to take the correct and adequate procedural precautions to make sure they are not endangering fragile ecosystems. From a risk management perspective, being aware of the development area’s ecology can go a long way to help save costs during construction and meet rehabilitation requirements. WIND ENERGY & THE TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE | 7


REIPPP Aligned with the Integrated Resource Plan 2010 (IRP), the Renewable Energy Independent Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPP) has been designed to provide incentive to Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to invest in developing sustainable renewable energy sources. To find out more about REIPPP:

You can integrate best practice on biodiversity and social issues into each step of the REIPPP process

At present the most relevant evaluation criteria in the REIPPP process (in terms of social considerations relating to the seven Economic Development Elements) include: 1. Job creation. 2. Local content. 3. Ownership. 4. Management control. 5. Preferential procurement. 6. Enterprise development (ED). 7. Socio-economic development (SED). The economic development elements relating to local communities focus mainly on employment, ownership, ED and SED. There is no definition for local content and therefore there is still some debate around how to fulfil the requirements. There is currently no existing South African policy relating to social enterprise, nor is there a legal definition. However, there are many existing policies, regulations and initiatives that have a direct bearing



REIPPP and social considerations



(DoE REIPP Update, Briefing to Parliamentary Portfolio Committee, April 2012.)



on social enterprise development. These include: registration and obligation of companies and non-profit organisations; tax law; broadbased black economic empowerment; corporate social investment; enterprise development; and the provision of business development services and greater capital. For further information and examples of good social investments, see

REIPPP and biodiversity considerations

The criteria in terms of the REIPPP relating to environmental and land is the most relevant. In addition to the requirement from the REIPPP, renew­able energy projects will have to comply with the applicable national, provincial and municipal legislation in terms of planning and environmental considerations. Projects also need to consider relevant planning and sectoral plans in their pre-feasibility and feasibility phases. The following plans, available at the local municipality office and the SA National Biodiversity Institute will need to be consulted: • Integrated Development Plans (IDPs). • Strategic Development Frameworks (SDFs). • Environmental Management Frameworks (EMFs). • Catchment management strategies. • Coastal management plans. • Specific biodiversity related plans.

Environment Impact Assessment (EIA)

The majority of proposed renewable energy developments in South Africa require a potential developer to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as prescribed under Chapter Five of the National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998 and its related regulations.

During an EIA, the potential social and biodiversity impacts of the proposed project will be assessed and ways to mitigate and manage such impacts will be recommended. The EIA process is an essential part of the development of a renewable energy project. It provides a detailed description of the current state of the environment including commonly available information on the climatic conditions, landscape character, geology and soil potential, land cover and biophysical environment. It also records the biomes and species of special interest, freshwater ecosystems, heritage profiles, archaeology and palaeontological features, and the social characteristics of the study area and surrounding environment. It is essential to engage consultants with relevant and local expertise to support this process to avoid misinformation leading to future challenges by those concerned about the environmental impacts of your development. From a social perspective an overview of the demographic, economic and health profiles as well as the tourism potential of the area needs to be assessed. The assessment process also provides an opportunity to identify both social and environmental risks and impacts during the lifecycle of the project, including cumulative impacts. Within the public participation process, the EIA will also identify the key interested and affected parties in terms of the project. It will be essential to ensure that the risks and opportunities related to their concerns are identified and addressed as soon as possible. Developers should recognise that the EIA process is only one of the tools to mainstream biodiversity and social considerations and that it has intrinsic limitations in terms of scope and timeframes. Therefore other processes will also need to be implemented by developers throughout the life cycle of the project to minimise biodiversity and social negative impacts and to maximise related opportunities. Some of the most important of these other processes are outlined in Table 2 overleaf. WIND ENERGY & THE TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE | 9

key biodiversity considerations Consideration


Related business risks


• Loss of habitats • Fragmentation and alteration of natural habitats • Changes in ecological processes/drivers • Introduction of alien species

• Environmental Impact Assessment (Environmental Impact Assessment) not granted, delayed or appealed • Opposition by conservation NGOs and local communities: impact on Environmental Impact Assessment and bad publicity/brand/reputation damages • Zoning application not granted • Possibility for requirements for compensation and/or biodiversity offset • Need to find alternative location • Costs of mitigation measures as set out in environmental management programme and conditions of environmental authorisation • Impact on project footprint • Potential constraints on investment and financing

General wildlife

• Displacement and disturbance • Depletion of food resources

•A  s above

Birds and bats

• Displacement (loss of habitat) and disturbance of birds and bats • Barrier effect on commuting and migration routes • Death of birds and bats through collision with turbine blades and barotrauma (bats only)

•A  s above •P  re- and post-construction monitoring requirements: cost implications

Noise pollution

• Potential disturbance (human and animal)

•A  s above


• Geological or geomorphological impacts

•A  s above

Hydrological processes and impacts on water resources

• Potential disturbance of animals and humans • Disturbance of water ecosystem, such as wetlands, riverine habitat • Alternation of hydrological processes • Use of water resources (particularly solar and during construction)

• As above, plus • Potential business risk to obtain water-use licence • Potential additional delay and costs


key social considerations Consideration


Related business risks

Cultural heritage

• Loss, fragmentation and alteration of cultural heritage sites •C  ultural disruption (impacts on cultural practices or cultural structures/ behaviour) • Access routes disrupted impeding access to burial grounds and other sites of cultural significance

• Environmental Impact Assessment (Environmental Impact Assessment) not granted, delayed or appealed • Opposition by conservation NGOs and local communities: impact on Environmental Impact Assessment and bad publicity/brand damage • Zoning application not granted • Need to find alternative location • Costs of mitigation

Visual impacts

• Alteration of aesthetic value of landscape • Potential loss of tourism • Shadow flicker (also at night)

• As above

Auditory impacts

• Noise pollution caused by turning turbines

• As above

Land use challenges

• Competition with other land uses, especially agriculture and mining • Communal land-related challenges • Land ownership and tenure • Commercial uses of land • Potential loss of grazing • Land reform claims

• Zoning and land use development applications not granted • Difficulties in finding available land • Difficulties in securing land • Increase in costs of land • Opposition to development • Limitations to development (footprint) • Access rights to land for communities

Livelihood impacts

•E  conomic impacts (negative or positive) in relation to local employment, ownership and management control of project, preferential procurement, enterprise development and socio-economic development, livelihoods • Economic migration

• Difficulties in complying with requirements of REIPPP procurement programme in this context • Local communities opposition • Costs implications to comply with obligation in terms of socio-economic development • Compensation implications • Managing expectations

TABLE 1: Overview of key potential biodiversity and social impacts. WIND ENERGY & THE TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE | 11

how to make it work for you... Mainstreaming biodiversity and social considerations is crucial to the sustainable development of wind energy in South Africa. It is therefore critical that these considerations are comprehensively addressed as early as possible as they will inform timeframes and costs associated with the development and operation of the project. Managing business opportunities related to biodiversity and social considerations: • Create a competitive advantage during the bidding process. • Make access to finance/investment easier, especially by attracting new sources of funding. • Reduce the above mentioned risks. • Position the company as a critical supporter of sustainable development in the South African context. • Potential financial incentives (i.e. tax). • Opportunity to set best precedent and best practice. • Opportunity to develop new business ventures related to the biodiversity and social considerations. • Opportunity for a greater return on investment in the long term. From good corporate governance and business risks management perspectives, there is no doubt that any wind energy developers should ensure the effective mainstreaming of biodiversity and social considerations. 12 | WIND ENERGY & THE TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE

Financial support

From a financial perspective, various mechanisms exist that could be used to support the mainstreaming of biodiversity and social considerations. Examples of a few of them are outlined below:

Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) CEPF is a joint initiative of Conservation International, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the World Bank. In South Africa, CEPF has grants available for the three biodiversity hotspots. Many of the strategic directions guiding CEPF’s approach relate to innovative private sector and community involvement in: • Conserving landscapes. • Expanding protected area corridors through publicprivate-communal partnerships in the priority areas. • Engaging key industrial sectors in meeting conservation objectives identified. • Retaining and restoring critical biodiversity in areas under greatest land-use pressure. • Mainstreaming conservation priorities into land-use planning and policymaking. They have extensive networks that could support renewable energy developers.

The Table Mountain Fund (TMF) The TMF is an independent funding facility established to support projects that restore and protect the natural wilderness of Table Mountain, the Cape Peninsula and the Cape Floral Kingdom as a valuable heritage accessible to all South Africans. In conjunction with its partners, the fund has historically focused its activities on the following conservation needs: • Protection of prioritised habitats; conservation within the working lowlands; building environmental awareness. • Control of alien invasive species and restoration of natural biodiversity. • Applied research that supports biodiversity conservation and capacity building. In addition the TMF also focuses its activities on: developing and implementing a mechanism to encourage micro grant-making with emerging community based organizations and providing internship opportunities to new entrants to the conservation sector through a young professionals programme. The TMF could become a valuable partner and/or financing vehicle for renewable energy community development projects.

The WWF-Nedbank Green Trust The WWF-Nedbank Green Trust, co-founded by Nedbank and WWFSA in 1990, is a mutually beneficial partnership between Nedbank and WWF-SA that supports nature conservation projects through community-based programmes. The Trust has significant national experience and networks that could be drawn upon to support renewable energy developers. WIND ENERGY & THE TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE | 13

The SKEPPIES Small Grants Facility for Conservation and Development in the Succulent Karoo or SKEPPIES is implemented through a partnership between the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and Conservation South Africa (CSA) and the Succulent Karoo Ecosystem Programme (SKEP). The initiative sponsors and facilitates business experience in projects that simultaneously achieve conservation and development outcomes in the Succulent Karoo region of the western coast of SA. It is involved in providing “climate technology” solutions to small businesses, as well as restoration projects. SKEPPIES could become a valuable partner and/or financing vehicle for renewable energy community development projects.

The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC)

The IDC is a development finance institution set up to promote economic growth and industrial development. It is owned by the South African government under the supervision of the Economic Development ministry. Many of the development funds and concessional finance options it offers, especially in terms of socio-economic development, could be relevant for wind developers. Of particular relevance could be the Agency Development & Support (ADA), a social enterprise fund that will have social and environmental impact along with economic benefits as its primary focus. Among other things, the fund will be used to: • Provide investment to establish (start-up) and develop (grow, replicate, scale) social enterprises and entrepreneurial opportunities. • Build and strengthen social capital and inclusivity. • Facilitate the integration of these enterprises into the main-stream economy. 14 | WIND ENERGY & THE TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE

• Support initiatives where community empowerment and integration of first and second economies are key (http://idc. and

The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) The DBSA is one of several development finance institutions in southern Africa. Its purpose is to accelerate sustainable socio-economic development by funding physical, social and economic infrastructure. The DBSA’s goal is to improve the quality of life of the people in the region. The bank’s refined vision is that of “a prosperous and integrated region, progressively free of poverty and dependency”, while its mission is to “drive development impact in the region through expanding access to development finance and effectively integrating and implementing sustainable development solutions”. The DBSA’s various financial products and services might be very relevant for wind energy developers.

Pioneer innovative and cost effective schemes with wind farm developers There is great potential for developers to structure innovative and cost-effective schemes in terms of their social and biodiversity considerations. Wind farms have a massive potential to positively impact communities through innovative socio-economic interventions. Various organisations exist in South Africa to support developers in facilitating optimal sustainable biodiversity and socio-economic impacts, especially at a local level. Developers should partner with relevant


organisations, including non-governmental organisations, specialising in social and biodiversity considerations. Such partnerships will assist them in the mainstreaming process. Case studies of innovative partnerships and solutions to manage social and biodiversity considerations are outlined below:

Green-preneurs (Pty) Ltd – Wildlands Conservation trust This social enterprise has been established to realise green economy based, pro-poor economic development opportunities’ arising from its activities in communities within which it is currently working. The Wildlands Green Community Development Trust has been structured to give beneficial black ownership status to the company. In practice, well over 95% of the combined beneficiaries of the two trusts are black individuals from poor urban and rural communities. Green-preneurs (Pty) Ltd. represents a new generation enterprise development company, aimed at using best business practice to stimulate local economic development whilst generating “profit for non-profit purposes”. The bartering system that Green-preneurs (Pty) Ltd. promotes, ultimately benefits local communities by providing “green jobs” for the unemployed and “green solutions” for our environmental concerns. Green-preneurs (Pty) Ltd. promotes the GREEN-REVOLUTION and kick-starts momen­ tum for change. Activities looking at recycling, bicycle mobility and alternative energy will ultimately save the planet in the long run.

Renewable Energy Solutions (RES) RES facilitates investment into deprived rural communities through the establishment of Bio Energy Plantations. It also develops the value chain to ensure local manufacturing opportunities. RES


specialises in eight different plant species that create opportunities for sustainable one-off investments in Bio Energy Plantations, and covers the majority of the target market’s climatic zones. Short-term rotation crops are chosen as companion plants to reduce artificial fertilisation requirements and to enhance short-term cash flow for the project participants. The projects are assisted in their participation in credible Enterprise Development (ED) or Corporate Social Investment (CSI) programmes. RES projects are also supported by SEDA (Small Enterprise Development Agency) and the Department of Agriculture for training, legal formations and extension services.

Flower Valley Conservation Trust – alien species clearing Through a major donation by the Drakenstein Trust, the Flower Valley Conservation Trust hosts the Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative area’s alien-clearing coordination efforts. It serves as a vital hub for land users, conservation organisations and government to collectively work towards alien eradication. Alien-clearing programmes can employ many unemployed youths while offering them the opportunity to learn business skills as they run their own teams. The Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative works to find these opportunities and to source funding where possible from the private and public sectors. Alien plants can also generate an income – albeit usually only sufficient to cover the costs of clearing them. As such, investigations continue into opportunities such as making charcoal and briquettes from cut alien plants, and using aliens to produce green energy for households by installing the necessary technologies.

Nurture, Restore, Innovate (NRI) NRI is a small business that integrates ecological research, business

entrepreneurship and socio-economic needs into ecological restoration systems for businesses whose footprint impacts biodiverse systems. Working in fragile arid landscapes, the NRI’s unique business and restoration strategy is based on a landscape, rather than a site, scale. Based on extensive long-term, on-site experimental trials, the NRI has developed a pioneering “restoration pack” technique that combines the seeds of plants most likely to grow in the site specific conditions in cardboard boxes and plants them in a layout that mimics the natural environment. To date, the technique has been applied to restore biodiversity on more than 500 hectares of degraded land and its low-mechanisation, highlabour technique is generating remarkable results for the unique and challenging Namaqualand coast. WIND ENERGY & THE TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE | 17

guidelines, standards & tools Very useful information can be found in guidelines documents on biodiversity and social considerations developed by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation. Additionally, developers should identify the relevant and applicable national and provincial government guidelines documents. Avian Monitoring Guidelines Best practice guidelines for

avian monitoring and impact mitigation at proposed wind energy development sites in Southern Africa. The Endangered Wildlife Trust and BirdLife South Africa, in conjunction with the Bird and Wind Energy Specialist Group (BAWESG), have developed best practice guidelines and monitoring protocols for evaluating wind energy development proposals.

Avian Wind Farm Sensitivity Map

Designed by the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and BirdLife South Africa to provide guidance to the wind farm industry on the best location of wind energy facilities (WEFs) by providing an indication of the geographic areas in South Africa where a wind farm could have a negative impact on particular bird species.

The Climate, Community and Biodiversity Project Design Standards (CCBS) evaluates land-based carbon miti-

gation projects in the early stages of development. The CCBS fosters


the integration of best-practice and multiple-benefit approaches into project design and evolution. The methodology and process of the CCBS could be used voluntarily as best practice in order to assist the efficient management of the social and biodiversity considerations in renewable energy projects. There are also other biodiversity standards that could be used to assist the mainstreaming process, i.e. the Biodiversity Area Management Standard. The Equator Principles (www. should also be considered.

Gold Standard is relevant to optimise the biodiversity and social benefits of the project The Gold Standard is an

internationally recognised certification standard for carbon mitigation projects. It is recognised as the benchmark for quality and rigour in both the compliance and voluntary carbon markets. The aim of the certification is to ensure that the projects demonstrate real and per足manent greenhouse gas reductions and sustainable development benefits in local communities. These criteria are measured, reported and verified.

South African Good Practice Guidelines for Surveying Bats The newly completed South African Good Practice Guidelines for Surveying Bats in Wind Farm Developments provides guidance on assessing the need for monitoring and preparing, planning and implementing bat monitoring in respect to wind farm development. The guidelines aim to standardise data collection and results interpretation and proactively address any possible negative impacts.


phase 1: pre-feasibility

Purpose is to conduct low-cost assessment of various potential sites for wind farms.


Key documents

Key stakeholders

Key practical guidance

Proactive identification & management of:

• Wind Atlas link • Protected Areas • Red List species • National biodiversity datasets and related documents: use projectsearch.asp and http:// index.asp for initial research • Provincial and municipal biodiversity plans • Strategic Environmental Assessment, if existing • Environmental Management Framework • IDP and SDF • Critical Biodiversity Areas • Avian Sensitivity Map • Zoning schemes • Coastal management plan, if relevant • Provincial Spatial Development plans • Bioregional plans • Biodiversity Sector plans • Listed ecosystems • Guidelines • Standards • Socio-economic plans and strategies at provincial and municipal levels

• South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) • The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) • BirdLife South Africa (BLSA) • Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) • Department of Environmental Affairs and Provincial Authorities • Department of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries (DAFF) • Local municipalities • Local communities • Provincial nature conservation bodies • Civil aviation authorities • Square Kilometre Array in Northern Cape (SKA) • South African Heritage Resources Authority, national and provincial • Landowners


See table on key biodiversity and social considerations and impacts

• Need to ensure that biodiversity informs pre-feasibility decisions: early screening of biodiversity risks and opportunities • Need to consult available information to assess biodiversity-related risks and fatal flaws, especially in terms of location • Conduct site visit to ascertain information • Consult with specialists and relevant NGOs to identify potential issues • Consult with relevant governmental departments: national, provincial and local • Need to inform location and footprint of project to avoid and minimise impacts • Avoid sensitive sites: sensitive shorelines, coastal environments, wetlands, riverine vegetation, migration corridors, critical and endangered habitats, areas with critical or endangered species, protected areas, areas near caves, areas with high heritage value and designated important birds areas • If site is of high conservation value, explore the possibility to incorporate the conservation of such site in business plan as part of the project (biodiversity opportunity) to achieve a net gain approach • Identify possible site alternatives, if possible • Look at requirements from financiers • Look at requirements from REIPPP • Depending on size of project, might decide to develop a SEA, which will also incorporate social and economic considerations • Overall objectives identify all risks and opportunities and assess ways to minimise risks and optimise opportunities


• Need to ensure that social considerations inform pre-feasibility decisions: early screening of social-related risks and opportunities • Consult IDP and other socio-economic plans/strategies • Conduct site visit to ascertain information • Consult with socio-economic specialists • Consult with local government • Identify landowners and other stakeholders • Look at requirements from financiers • Look at requirements from REIPPP

phase 2: feasibility Risks Proactive identification & management of: See table on key biodiversity and social considerations and impacts

Key documents •W  ind Atlas link •P  rotected Areas •R  ed List species •N  ational biodiversity datasets and related documents, you can use projectsearch.asp and http://biodiversityadvisor. for initial research •P  rovincial and municipal biodiversity plans •S  trategic Environmental Assessment, if exists •E  MF • IDP and SDF •C  ritical Biodiversity Areas •A  vian Sensitivity Map •Z  oning schemes •C  oastal management plan, if relevant •P  rovincial Spatial Development plans •B  ioregional plans •B  iodiversity Sector plans •L  isted ecosystems •G  uidelines •S  tandards •S  ocio-economic plans and strategies at provincial and municipal levels •O  utcome of biodiversity and social detailed assessment

When the pre-feasibility analysis shows the project to be viable, the proponent continues its analysis in the field to confirm the preliminary information and the hypotheses.

Key stakeholders

Key practical guidance

• South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) • The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) • BirdLife South Africa (BLSA) • Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) • Department of Environmental Affairs and Provincial Authorities • Department of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries (DAFF) • Local municipalities • Local communities • Provincial nature Conservation bodies • Civil aviation authorities • Square Kilometre Array in Northern Cape (SKA) • South African Heritage Resources Authority national and provincial • Landowners

Biodiversity • Detailed biodiversity assessment of proposed site, including detailed site visit (similar to specialist study in an Environmental Impact Assessment), but carried out as part of feasibility to identify any fatal flaw: go/no-go option • Consider suitable mitigation options and cost implications • Inform the ecological footprint and siting of the project development (manage visual, noise, shadow flicker and biodiversity impacts) • Possibility to appoint consultant for strategic input in this phase • Assess potential risks for compensation or biodiversity offsets for residual impacts. If risks found, to start strategising • Inform engineering and structure design • Start Environmental Impact Assessment (scoping) • Apply for zoning land-use applications • Apply for water-use licence • Important to comprehensively consider cumulative impacts • Initial stakeholders engagement: participatory planning tools • Continue with pre-construction monitoring • Look for strategic partnership(s) • If possible, start with birds and bats pre-construction monitoring Social • Engagement with surrounding landowners and communities: apply participatory planning tools • Consult with municipality • Appoint social expert for strategic inputs • Undertake pre-Environmental Impact Assessment study • Identify needs of surrounding communities within 50km radius (as stipulated in RFP documents) • Understand potential risks and opportunities for implementation of required economic development elements linked to local communities • Consult with municipality • Identified key interested and affected parties, carefully identify relevant community leaders (i.e. traditional leaders, community leaders, key role player from civil society, etc.) • Start Environmental Impact Assessment (scoping) • Look for strategic partnership(s)

phase 3: development

Risks Proactive identification & management of: See table on key biodiversity and social considerations and impacts

Key documents •E  nvironmental Impact Assessment regulations, norms and standards • Guidelines • Specialist reports

Key stakeholders •D  epartment of Environmental Affairs and Provincial Authorities • Municipalities • Local communities

If the conclusions drawn from the feasibility analysis are positive, the proponent decides to go ahead with the project. A number of steps still have to be successfully completed before construction can begin.

Key practical guidance Biodiversity • Undertake full Environmental Impact Assessment • Important to look at cumulative impacts • Development of Environmental Management Programme (EMP) for Environmental Impact Assessment • If potentially required: start addressing potential compensation/offsets requirements • Implement strategic partnership(s) • Secure funds prior to construction to undertake decommission Social • Undertake full Environmental Impact Assessment • Actively promote consultation • Consult and engage with interested and affected parties • Collaborate with local authorities and landowners in developing strategy to address local ownership requirement • Widely communicate proposed project • Collaborate with local authorities in developing understanding of socio-economic challenges and opportunities of the area • Communicate in a transparent and honest manner to manage possible risks and uncertainties involved in projects-planning process and application • Feed specialist study findings into central data bases • Provide list of enterprises earmarked for development and give an indication of programmes that will be implemented with these enterprises (if ED elements are chosen by developer) • Formulate strategies for Economic Development Requirements in collaboration with relevant stakeholders • Implement strategic partnership(s)

phase 4: construction

Risks Proactive identification & management of: See table on key biodiversity and social considerations and impacts Noise pollution

Key documents

Key stakeholders

•E  nvironmental Management Plan • Skills database • Applicable legislation • Construction contract • Employment contracts •S  ocial and labour management plan

•D  epartment of Environmental Affairs and Provincial Authorities • Local municipalities • Local communities

While construction is underway, the many contractors involved must be able to co-ordinate their work and all the equipment in use at the site. The success of this phase hinges largely on how well the preceding phases were prepared.

Key practical guidance Biodiversity • Adhere to all biodiversity legal requirements • Implement Environmental Management Plan • Implement conditions of environmental authorisations • Find reputable contractor who adheres to social and biodiversity recommendations (EPC contracts) • Implement Biodiversity Management Plan and specialist recommendations • Appoint environmental compliance officer • Compliance management, including audits • Continue with monitoring • Performance evaluation • Reporting Social • Comply with requirements in bid document to use local labour • Develop the various initiatives as per bid document • Minimise negative impacts and enhance positive impacts • Appoint communication liaison officer • Collaborate with local authorities in recruitment of local labour • Establish local presence in project area (site office, communication officer or similar) • Commence facilitated communication process including local authorities and residents about socio-economic development interventions • Relevant social and labour management plan • Compliance management, including audits • Social monitoring and performance evaluation • Reporting

phase 5: operation Risks Proactive identification & management of: See table on key biodiversity and social considerations and impacts Noise pollution

Key documents

Key stakeholders

• Environmental Management Plan • Skills database • Applicable legislation • Construction contract • Employment contracts • Social and labour management plan

• Department of Environmental Affairs and Provincial Authorities • Local municipalities • Local communities

This includes control, monitoring and maintenance activities that must be performed precisely to keep downtime to a minimum. Key practical guidance Biodiversity • Regular monitoring of key issues for that specific site • Update Environmental Management Plan accordingly and ensure compliance • Establish environmental liaison forum • Use landscape management • Optimise biodiversity management on site • Post-construction monitoring Social • Implement socio-economic development plan • Ensure monitoring, evaluation and reporting arrangements are in place • Configure activities in social plan and source new opportunities • Draw up a social plan outlining way forward • Conduct detailed social impact assessment • Implement Economic Development Requirements socio-economic development interventions, number of citizens from local communities employed and enterprise development • Socio-economic monitoring and performance evaluation • Reporting

phase 6: decommissioning Risks Proactive identification & management of: See table on key biodiversity and social considerations and impacts Noise pollution

Key documents • Rehabilitation plan • Social plans

Key stakeholders • Department of Environmental Affairs and Provincial Authorities • Local municipalities • Local communities

When the activity comes to a close for whatever reason (end of the machinery’s service life, lack of markets, etc.), the developer must dismantle the facilities in an acceptable manner.

Key practical guidance Biodiversity • Implement a plan for sustainable biodiversity enhancement after decommissioning • Conduct rehabilitation for net gain results Social • Implement exit strategy identified in your socio-economic development plan • Identify alternative economic opportunities • Develop and implement a plan for continued social enhancement • Ensure other direct/indirect opportunities are provided for workers •E  nsure sustainability of socio-economic development and enterprise development post decommissioning

key tips checklist As this pamphlet has shown, there are many different concerns one needs to take into consideration when it comes developing a successful wind energy project. And this can be confusing or overwhelming for new wind energy developers. Here, you will find, are a few simple guidelines to help address each concern you have and turn your wind developed project into a breeze. Conduct a comprehensive screening (desktop biodiversity assessment and initial site visit) to identify key risks and opportunities in terms of social and biodiversity considerations, which should be informed by: • Presence of sensitive habitats, species and heritage sites in proposed location and surroundings. • Proximity to strategic habitats for birds and bats. • Proximity to wetlands and national water resources. • Location in a coastal zone or not. • Ownership of envisaged land for project site. 26 | WIND ENERGY & THE TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE

• Possibility of feasible alternative sites. • Socio-economic landscape in proposed location and surroundings. • Potentially affected communities and their socio-economic profiles. • Key role players at the local level. • Similar developments (existing or planned) in the larger area. • Potential cumulative impacts.

Engage with all relevant stakeholders as early as possible.

Make use of extensive spatial tools and maps to assist with planning.

Avoid construction within Critical Biodiversity Areas, focus areas for protected areas extension strategy, national listed ecosystems and other sensitive areas.

Pre-construction monitoring of birds and bats should be done prior to the commencement of the EIA. Use the monitoring as a risk mitigation method as well as best practice by conducting at least six months of monitoring before the decision to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment is made. If any issues are identified during the monitoring, the information can be used to determine feasibility of the project.

Incorporate as many of the potential challenges or opportunities, irrespective of discipline, as early as possible.

List vulnerable species and habitats that may occur in the study area and assess potential biodiversity impacts i.e. mortal­ity, loss of habitat, fragmentation, disturb­ance and displacement, and impacts on the ecological processes.

The permitting process is not inte­grated. Ensure that all relevant permits are obtained within the appropriate project cycle timeframes.

Identify opportunities to formally or informally conserve and achieve a net gain approach in the proposed site (avoid need for biodiversity offsets).

Consider the cumulative impacts and plan accordingly.

Look at innovative ways to combine biodiversity and socio requirements (value added approach).

Local biodiversity laws must be adhered to at all times.

Manage communities’ expectations as early as possible.

Be transparent and comprehensive about your plans and process.

Be pro-active regarding engagement with the landowners, local municipal­i­ ties, businesses and residents.

Manage land-use challenges as soon as possible such as agriculatre and mining.

Identify the potential social negative impacts as early as possible and engage with the local communities.

When there are a number of devel­ opments in a given area, engagement between developers is essential to assess the cumulative impacts and address these accordingly. The developers should develop strategies for effective cooperation to ensure cohesion in their approaches. They need to ensure that there is no duplication of efforts and that the ‘mitigation’ or benefits are complementary for the communities that are affected.

Assess the opportunities as early as possible: skills development, job creation and economic upliftment.

Ensure long-term sustainability of the proposed actions and strategies.

Facilitate access to land i.e. grazing rights.

Invest in process for the establishment of appropriate local ownership structures and implementation capacity for socio-economic development interventions.

Seek specialised advice on how to structure social investment plans and opportunities.

Establishment of effective community trusts, ensuring community participation and representation.

Monitor social investment structures.

Tick the box if these tasks have been completed


The aim of this document is to help wind energy project developers to understand the social and bio­diversity considerations applicable to South Africa. It also advises on strategic planning for wind energy projects and helps to guide projects in making the informed decisions to avoid negative environ­mental impacts and to support local communities. PHOTOGRAPHS BY: © MARIANNE GOLDING; © A. PHILLIPS; © MARION BURGER; CI/photo by Haroldo Castro; © A. PHILLIPS; © ART WOLFE; © CI/ PHOTO BY T. MILDENHALL; © CI/ PHOTO BY T. MILDENHALL; © MARION BURGER; © CI/ PHOTO BY S. FRAZEE; © CI/ PHOTO BY T. MILDENHALL; © CI/PHOTO BY T. MILDENHALL; © CI /PHOTO BY S. DAVIDS; © CI/PHOTO BY S. FRAZEE; © CI/PHOTO BY S. FRAZEE; © MARIANNE GOLDING; © MARIANNE GOLDING; © CI/PHOTO BY S. FRAZEE;


Wind Energy and the Triple Bottom Line