Progress Update August 2016

Here at Just energy realise that we have been rather quiet for the twelve months since we received the good news that the Just Energy supported wind project in the Eastern Cape had been selected to proceed as part of the Department of Energy’s REIPPP Programme.

Far from being quiet in reality, much has been happening behind the scenes to move the project forwards towards its targeted financial close and thereafter to construction and operations.

We don’t yet have the final date for financial close, but we are very optimistic that it will happen before the end of this year, 2016, and that a major milestone will be achieved at that point.

More news will follow here once we have confirmation of dates!

We are also in the process of developing a more detailed report that explores the process that Just Energy has followed, its aims and aspirations around community ownership, the benefits of the approach and areas where it could be improved for greater community benefit in future. We also hope to have that document available here in the next few weeks.

The JE team.

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:


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,

+27 (0)82 4104183

Community renewables article

An older article but still an interesting read on community renewables in the UK

New business models for bringing solar energy to low income households

Betsy Ronan Herzog – Rocky Mountain Institute

More than 1.3 billion people around the world live without electricity. Another 1 billion endure prolonged periods without power, up to 18 hours per day. Most of them are in the developing world in countries such as Nepal.

In that developing world, kerosene lamps—dirty, dim, noxious, relatively expensive, and dangerous—often provide an only source of light. Kerosene consumes up to 30 percent of families’ income. Its harmful fumes cause more deaths each year than malaria. In Nepal, kerosene causes tuberculosis rates nines times the average for women. And it causes some 70 percent of fires and 80 percent of burns.

In other words, it’s a serious problem that needs both a solution and a viable pathway to make that solution reality.

Enter Empower Generation, a nonprofit organization founded by RMI alum Bennett Cohen and his wife, Anya Cherneff. Call it a love story of two ideas.

More here…..

Excellent TED talk by Dan Pallotta on turning our view of charity on its head

Dan Pallotta gives some really clear insights on why our traditional view of  ‘charity’ is all wrong. Well worth a watch.

We’ve Moved

Hi All,

Please note that we have just completed a move to a new office at:

Unit 101 salt Circle,

19 Kent Road, Salt River, Cape Town, 7925

Please drop by to see the new office or chat to us about our projects.


Decision Day is Here

Today is a very exciting day for Just Energy and our community partners as we are eagerly anticipating the announcement of the 1st round of renewable energy projects that have been selected by the South African Department of Energy to be built under their Independent Power Producers programme.

The Announcement is scheduled for 10 a.m. today (Dec 7th), SA time in Durban.

Fingers crossed that our River Bank project will be one of the successful ones as it has huge potential for channeling significant revenues into the local community in the Eastern Cape.

We’ll be providing updates here as we get them!

OECD Week 2011 highlights the need for growth whilst protecting the environment

By Neil Townsend, CEO, Just Energy

May 30, 2011

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) celebrates its 50th Anniversary this week. Originally formed from European nations in the wake of the second world war, it now brings together 40 countries that account for 80 percent of world trade and investment.

The recently released OECD Green Growth Strategy, and the new report, Towards Green Growth, asserts that governments must look to the green economy to find new sources of growth, and that green growth makes economic as well as environmental sense.

Emerging economic powers, including South Africa, now contribute to over 25 percent of global GDP. And, while many are not members of the OECD, the relevance of at the OECD’s conclusions to their economies can not be underestimated. Indeed, in many ways emerging economies may have even more to gain. Just as in telecoms markets where mobile technology helped developing economies to skip to the latest technology, bringing with it huge productivity gains, renewable energy technology is poised to achieve the same in the power sector.

The OECD also commented that in natural resource sectors alone, commercial opportunities related to investments in environmental sustainability could run into trillions of dollars by 2050.

A modest share in those investment opportunities for local communities, such as those provided by Just Energy’s wind energy generation projects in South Africa could bring multiple benefits, such as improved education and health care.

Interest in sustainable development initiatives in developing nations is clearly very strong. Encouraged by this, Just Energy is motivated as ever for its community-owned wind projects in South Africa and its planned projects in other countries to achieve their triple return on investment: financial returns to investors, social returns for to the community, and environmental returns for the planet.

IPCC study highlights importance of renewable energy for developing countries

By Neil Townsend, CEO, Just Energy

May 23rd, 2011

I was encouraged to read some of the findings of the IPCC’s recent study into the possibility of renewable energy meeting the world’s growing energy needs. The IPCC, the UN’s climate change science body, found that renewable energy could contribute to 80% of the world’s energy supply within four decades.

To achieve that level, governments must put renewable energy centre stage since it is public policies that will either expand or constrain renewable energy development over the coming decades.

As reported by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, renewables are already of increasing importance to the investment community, with global investment in low-carbon energy reaching a record $243 billion in 2010, double the level of 2005.

The IPCC study also found that investing in renewables can help poor countries to develop, particularly where large numbers of people lack access to an electricity grid, a point that underscores the relevance and importance of Just Energy as an organisation seeking to enable low income communities to produce renewable energy on a commercial scale.

Ramon Pichs, co-chair of one of the key IPCC working groups, said: “Developing countries have an important stake in the future – this is where most of the 1.4 billion people without access to electricity live yet also where some of the best conditions exist for renewable energy deployment.”

As Just Energy’s three wind farm projects in South Africa get closer to overcoming their respective technical and regulatory challenges, our vision of community-owned projects that will bring real multiple benefits – greater energy supply, reduction of carbon emissions, local development support and improved agricultural production – gets one step closer to a reality.

Recruitment Deadline Extended

Due to a problem with our mail server, we are asking all applicants to re-send their applications, unless you have received a confirmation email from us,  for our recently advertised position. (see previous item on this blog).

Because of this problem, we are also extending the deadline to midnight on July 9th.

We apologise for the inconvenience.

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