Eastern Cape Business 2021-22

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SPECIAL FEATURE

incentivising the industry to identify and support emerging entrepreneurs. The rollout of renewable energy has met some resistance in South Africa from constituencies as diverse as coal-truck drivers and advocates of nuclear power. In response, renewable energy advocates cite not just investment figures, but they note how much good work has been done in communities. Figures released by SAWEA show shareholding for local communities at an estimated net income of R29.2-billion over the lifespan of the projects. Some 14 000 new jobs are expected to be created, mostly in rural areas, and more than R30-billion has already been spent on Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) in the construction phase. Part of the SAWEA Commitment Statement reads, “Our aim over time is to transform and indigenise leadership at all levels in the South African Renewable Energy sector.” The average lead time in the projects that have so far been approved in the province is two years, with local content averaging out at about 47%. When the projects are complete, R142.9-billion will have been spent on procurement, R65.7-billion of which will be local. The Eastern Cape is now home to more than 15 wind farms. More than half the wind farm projects so far approved in the REIPPPP have been allocated to the province. The Kouga area west of Jeffreys Bay and the Cookhouse/Bedford area about 95km north-west of Makhanda (Grahamstown) represent two wind power hubs, with a collective capacity of 1 185MW. POWERX has signed up with AKM Foods to supply power to all the KFC outlets in Nelson Mandela Bay. POWERX trades in renewable energy through licences granted to it by the national energy regulatory authority, NERSA. By aggregating power purchases, the company is able to mitigate risk in a way that an individual purchaser may not be able to. POWERX now supplies over 40 national and local customers in Nelson Mandela Bay and it aims to expand the customer base. ■

Credit: BTE Renewables The REIPPPP has attracted a good deal of praise for its efficiency and effectiveness: in five years about R200-billion was committed in investments in a variety of projects all over South Africa. South Africa’s two biggest institutional investors, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), have played a big role in helping communities fund participation in community trusts which have taken ownership stakes in power projects. The REIPPPP was derailed for a period but is now back on track. One of the sad results of the refusal by national utility Eskom to buy renewable power for two years was the closing down and auctioning off of a wind tower manufacturing plant in the Eastern Cape. DCD Wind Towers was a joint venture between the DCD Group and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) at Coega. The South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) has issued a Commitment Statement which noted that the REIPPPP has a “built-in demand for local procurement”, not only offering business opportunities to local companies, but also

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EASTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2021/22