Investors put Northern Cape’s sunshine to good use
Spanish firm Abengoa’s Xina Solar One is one of the major projects of SA’s renewable energy programme
The energy sector took advantage of Eskom’s 2008 electricity generation crisis by developing the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme. The water crisis could also spark such ingenuity. The Northern Cape, a sparsely populated landmass drenched in sunshine and short of investment, has been one of the major beneficiaries of the independent power producer (IPP) programme. The province hosts the majority of the more than 90 projects developed during the various windows of the programme. Premier Sylvia Lucas, Energy Minister Jeff Radebe, Abengoa Solar’s Dominic Goncalves, the Industrial Development Corporation’s (IDC’s) Lizeka Matshekga, and the Public Investment Corporation’s (PIC’s) Jeff Tshikhudo agree that the Northern Cape’s geology and climate make it the ideal candidate for the solar and wind projects. Together, the IDC and the PIC have invested more than R20bn in these projects, believing that the South African economy cannot afford another energy deba...