Renewables outperforming on green jobs and relief for depressed communities says Energy Minister
In both her recent National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Budget speech and yesterday’s Budget speech Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson hailed the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) as ‘one of the world’s most successful’, highlighting some new statistics that show the programme is over-delivering in many areas.
There was good news regarding employment. Projects up to bid window 3 (which have only just started construction) are already outperforming predicted levels of employment reaching 111% of the planned numbers. The fact that there are still 23 developments still under construction and creating employment means that figures are likely to continue to exceed expectations.
Developers had committed to delivering 8451 job years during the construction phase, but actual figures stand 70% higher at 14,334 new jobs. The majority of these jobs are in rural provinces.
Recent figures also showed thatthe R30.7 billion spent on BBBEE during construction so far has already exceeded the R26.6 Billion that had originally been anticipated.
The Minister confirmed that community investment from the REIPPPP has “already brought about much relief to economically depressed municipalities providing not only household connections to the grid but also employment and economic empowerment opportunities to those mainly in rural areas.”
Other highlights included the R200 billion of private investment in solar and wind developments and shareholding for local communities reaching an estimated net income of R29.2 billion over the 20 year-plus lifespan of the projects.
Some information about the upcoming expedited Bid window 4 due to be announced in Q2 of the financial year (1800 Megawatts) and the first small projects programme was shared, which together will increase the total private investment amount to more than R255 Billion: “This is in excess of 4 percent of the national gross fixed investment as reported by the South African Reserve Bank for the last 3 years. These investments stimulate local business through a commitment of R65 billion to be spent on South African goods and services.” She confirmed that almost all the wind projects due to be appointed are in excess of 100 MW sites.
The contribution to the electricity grid from renewable energy developments already in full operation is growing constantly and has now reached 16% of total energy produced in the peak periods of morning and evening in any 24-hour period. This share of available energy will continue to increase as more diverse renewable sources hit the grid, including biomass and concentrated solar power, which provides energy storage.
The minister concluded her overview on the benefits of renewable energy with the following words: “Our Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme is contributing to ‘greening’ South Africa’s Industrialisation. The programme has been designed to contribute to the development of a local green industry and the creation of green jobs. We are aware of at least twelve new industrial facilities that have been established in the country in direct response to the renewable energy programme – evidence of the programme’s contribution towards growing the green economy and green jobs.”
“These good news stories are no surprise to the industry but help to boost public awareness of the many benefits renewables bring to our country,” comments South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) Chairperson Heather Sonn. “This corroborates our view that renewables can contribute significantly to our energy mix and has inspired the theme ‘Towards 100% Renewables’ at our annual conference in November this year. We are increasingly seeing the reality of our industry delivering financial, social and transformational returns to South Africa.”
SAWEA is a non-profit, industry organisation representing the wind industry in South Africa. Its members include both national and international entities active in the entire wind energy supply chain. Its aim is to promote the sustainable use of commercial wind energy in South Africa; to contribute knowledge and human resources to the streamlining of the policy and regulatory framework for wind in SA; to facilitate synergy between the growth of the industry and the achievement of the broader socio-economic aims of Government (including training, job creation and localisation); to disseminate information; to act as a focal point for discussion between members, government, the media and the public.
Windaba is the annual, official wind industry event hosted by the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) in partnership with Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). The annual conference and exhibition will take place on 2-3 November 2016, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. For further information, please visit www.windaba.co.za