South Africa has excellent coastal wind conditions, so it’s not surprising that the Eastern Cape has the lion’s share of operational wind farms in the country. With twelve power plants scattered across the province from Kouga through to Gibson Bay, these wind farms are contributing 34% of the country’s clean renewable power resources to the National Grid. A further upside to this nascent industry is the economic development that is taking place across the province, directly impacting on beneficiary communities.
“Public-private partnerships can be powerful catalysts for change. We value the contribution our local wind farms are making to the well-being, education and economic growth of our communities and look forward to strengthening our partnership with them,” said Kouga Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen.
Socio Economic Development initiatives to-date have been focused on five categories, including education and skills development; social welfare, healthcare, and enterprise development. Together, the wind farms in the Eastern Cape have made a combined commitment of R4.5 billion over the 20 year projected project life. And what’s more, they are committing funds in alignment with the provincial priorities.
In addition to each wind farm’s individual host community programmes, the industry is working together on collaborative projects to increase the impact on community members. Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm, together with Kouga Wind Farm and Tsitsikamma Wind Farms put their support behind the PinkDrive Breast Cancer mobile unit this earlier this month, as part of breast cancer awareness month. The mobile unit visited the region, focusing on educational and cancer diagnostics services for both women and men in the communities of Jeffreys Bay, Humansdorp, Sea Vista, Clarkson and Kareedouw.
Services included breast cancer screening and examinations; mammograms; Pap smears; PSA screening for prostate and testicular cancer for men; HIV screening amongst other general health messaging.
The Renewable Energy Independent Power Procurement Programme’s competitive bidding process requirements carry a 70% weighting on pricing and the IPP’s socio-economic development and enterprise development programmes, which benefit host communities, carry a significant weight of thirty percent.
By March 2017 the IPP project value realised R14.4billion, in the Eastern Cape, with a substantial portion being structured as local equity. Black South Africans hold 36% of the shares across the complete supply chain. Local communities hold seventeen equity in the operating wind farms.