What can, and must be learned to improve community development in the REIPPPP, the largest renewable energy programme ever undertaken in South Africa?
This was the question that 150 diverse participants came together to explore at a dedicated Learning Event, ‘Deepening REIPPPP’s Community Development Impact’ in February 2020. The event was funded by USAID in partnership with the IPP Office, and supported by the industry associations SAWEA and SAPVIA. It was hosted at the Industrial Development Corporation in Johannesburg.
As we move closer to the next round of renewable energy procurement, SAWEA is taking steps to strengthen our stakeholder relations. Part of our advocacy campaign strategy is direct engagements, particularly with government, with the view of strengthening relationships and partnerships.
As reported in the most recent Member Update, the SAWEA Board, met with the new Head of the IPPO, Mr. Bernard Magoro, as a key stakeholder of the IPPO and to discuss imminent issues and map out a longer-term engagement plan between SAWEA and the IPPO.
In addition to this, we supported the RE industry inaugural meeting with the Minister of Mineral Resources & Energy, an engagement that was arranged by EE Business Intelligence. This was an opportunity for the industry to engage openly and directly with the Minister, which was a big step in strengthening our government relations as a sector. The purpose was to establish a forum where our sector can have a platform to engage the DMRE on a regular basis. This foundational engagement, was an important step towards our sector being able to constructively work alongside the DMRE to reduce obstacles to the roll-out of addition RE and help clean, green energy play an essential role in the government’s economic stimulus package, designed to accelerate economic recovery. The next steps will be to finalise the Ministerial Engagement Forum, which is to include key RE stakeholders, with the intention of meeting on a quarterly basis.
In parallel to the Ministerial Engagement process, we have set up a Wind Industry/DMRE forum, in discussion with Mr. Jacob Mbele of the DMRE, to build stronger communication channels and address wind industry-specific issues. It is envisioned that quarterly engagements will enable us to address standing agenda items.
A co-op of 30 emerging farmers, situated close to Caledon in the Overberg, have received support from Klipheuwel Wind Farm, to help develop into a sustainable farming enterprise that can raise close to 1 000 pigs for the region’s meat market.
July 2020, Noupoort
A local youth-led NGO, Inclusive Neighbourhood Spaces (INS), is providing an important service to the community of Noupoort during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their role extends to vulnerable members of the community, from young children to the elderly, making sure that their support is both tangible and meaningful.
The South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA), together with various other energy sector stakeholders, recently met with Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe, in what is viewed as a significant step towards the sector forging a positive relationship with the Department of Mineral Resource and Energy (DMRE), based on trust and improved communications.