A: St Helena Bay
Challenge: The Seeland Development Trust owns around 800 hectares of land in a prime wind area in the Western Cape. It manages the land for its 205 family members, who live in the nearby township and struggle with difficult economic conditions.
Action: Working with the trust and Belgian company, Electrawinds, Just Energy is developing a 30 MW wind project. Wind monitoring equipment is on site and the environmental impact assessment phase is ongoing. It’s targeted to be construction-ready by end of the fourth quarter 2012.
Impact: The trust will benefit from a substantial equity share in the business as well as a regular lease payment – allowing it to invest in other business opportunities on the land, create more jobs and pay members a regular dividend to boost standards of living.
B: The Riverbank, Eastern Cape
Challenge: Members of the Uncedo Lwethu Farmers Cooperative in the Eastern Cape individually own a large piece of land with great potential, but don’t have adequate resources to invest in farming it – or any access to electricity.
Action: Working with the Cooperative and Belgian company, Electrawinds, Just Energy is developing a 66 MW wind energy facility. The wind energy facility has a proposed first phase of development of 10 turbines (with a generating capacity of approximately 30 MW) and a potential future second phase of a further 36 MW. The full potential of the wind energy facility planned for the larger site (i.e. both phases of the scheme totalling ~66 MW) and an Environmental Authorisation for the project has been granted by the Department of Environmental Affairs.
The project has been submitted as part of the IPP Procurement Programme currently being run by the Department of Energy – decision is still pending
Impact: Through their role in project development, particularly in the area of building social and political acceptance for the project, the community gains shareholding, The community ownership during wind farm operations is 40%, becoming the principal BEE partner in the project which will require some additional community financing from the DBSA to fully achieve.
This shareholding yields dividends, which can be applied to a range of social and economic development activities, such as investment in new business start-ups, social infrastructure and healthcare facilities. This differs from the traditional model of renewable energy developers, who seek to maximise profits and often do not provide such advantages for host communities.