Eskom will have to find extra customers on which to off-load its surplus energy once renewable energy companies start operating at the end of October. Picture: GETTY IMAGES
Eskom will have to find extra customers on which to off-load its surplus energy once renewable energy companies start operating at the end of October. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

The South African wind energy industry has adopted a charter to better address socio-economic transformation over the next 20 years.

In a commitment statement, adopted at an AGM of the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) on Thursday, the wind energy industry and set out a vision to optimise its impact on the country. The commitment goes beyond compliance and lays the ground for setting targets to which the industry holds itself accountable.

The local wind industry, and renewable power in general, is rapidly growing in SA as a result of the government’s renewable energy independent power producers (IPP) procurement programme, which has attracted R193bn in investment and 6328MW in procured green power, the highest proportion of which is wind energy.

Under the programme, the winning bidders are already required to meet socio-economic development obligations. Tebogo Movundlela, chair of SAWEA, however, said the requirements were not prescriptive. The commitment from the industry is to be more deliberate in its intentions and to design programmes that address critical issues facing communities, she said.

The renewables industry has been sharply criticised on the question of ownership as the projects are awarded to typically foreign, and often multinational corporations, which have existing expertise in delivering green power.

Movundlela said the commitment statement did touch on the issue of ownership. Although a portion of local ownership is required under the programme, “this still requires local players to raise considerable funding, which presents a number of associated challenges”, she said. The industry has now committed to assisting emerging entrepreneurs access finance.

The industry will also meet each year to determine specific areas of focus and set targets to which they hold themselves accountable, Movundlela said.

Addressing delegates at the SAWEA conference on Thursday, the DG, Thabane Zulu, on behalf of energy minister Jeff Radebe said performance in the wind, and solar energy sectors was increasing and invited investors to consider SA as an investment destination with huge potential to grow.

Wind power in particular was “extremely attractive and competitive on price” Zulu said. “While there is upward pressure on the electricity tariff, we have to ensure that we introduce generation options that will effectively lower the cost of electricity.”

Steynl@businesslive.co.za

Correction: November 9, 2018

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that minister Jeff Radebe was the one addressing delegates when in-fact it was the DG, Thabane Zulu, on behalf of the minister speaking.

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