Just Energy’s Wesley project succesful in SA’s Renewable Programme

Excellent news that one of our projects has made it through the extremely competitive bidding process that is the REIPPPP (Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme) here in SA. This is great news for members of the farmers cooperative who Just Energy has been working with and will be share holders in the new project.

Official press release below:

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A wind energy project jointly developed by Just Energy, a not for profit organization, and InnoWind, a subsidiary of EDF Energies Nouvelles, has been selected as a ‘preferred bidder’ by South Africa’s Department of Energy.

Just Energy is the first not for profit project developer to successfully compete for the opportunity to connect a renewable energy project to the South African national electrical grid. Just Energy’s unique business model enables it to re-invest a substantial portion of the revenues it earns from developing the project back into equity for the local community to own.

Just Energy CEO Neil Townsend said, “We started Just Energy with the belief that if clean energy projects were to be distributed around the country, then there was a fantastic opportunity for low income communities to be involved in the ownership of those projects, so that some of the income created would stay in the local economy and help to build those communities. We are really excited to have the opportunity to take this approach forward on the project we started in Wesley in a rural part of the former Ciskei Homeland area.”

The project at Wesley is the first renewable energy project to be selected in either the Transkei or Ciskei of the former Homelands areas. Martin Webb, CEO of InnoWind said, “this is an important first step in a multi-billion Rand procurement program that has so far seen no renewable energy projects developed on community land in the Former Homelands and one which we believe will open the door to more renewable energy projects in some of the less economically developed rural areas of our country”.

Just Energy partnered on the development of the project, alongside InnoWind, with a community of small holder land owners and farmers on whose lands the project will be built and who will receive long term financial returns from the project. Townsend added, “We wanted to use a model of ‘real ownership’ for this project for the participating community. What sets this project apart is it sits on land owned by local community landowners and farmers. This is a unique approach for the sector but we hope the social benefit that flows from it will pave the way for others to follow, particularly in rural areas such as in the Former Homelands, one of the few areas in South Africa where local communities hold land”.

Just Energy was initially established through charitable investments by the Bank of America Foundation and Oxfam.  “We are pleased that Just Energy’s innovative model for delivering clean energy projects has been recognized and accepted by the South African government,” said Purna Saggurti, chairman of Global Corporate & Investment Banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.  “While this investment preceded our new Catalytic Finance Initiative, our partnership with Just Energy is a terrific example of how that initiative can leverage philanthropic dollars to mobilize capital from other sources to deliver both financial returns for investors and strong sustainable development benefits for the local communities.”

The Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) is a Department of Energy run programme which recognizes projects with high local ownership. Just Energy applauds the Department for this approach and hopes that we will increasingly see higher amounts of ‘real’ project ownership by low income communities as the programme evolves. We hope we can feed our experience into the discussion as future project rounds are developed.

The project is 33 MW in size and when built will feature the 10 of the tallest wind turbines in Africa.

For more details please contact:

Neil Townsend,Media@just-energy.org

+27 (0)82 4104183

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