The South Africa renewables age and the rising presence of Enel Green Power in the Rainbow Nations: solar and wind power plants on the path of sustainability. The Creating shared Value on the top of our daily tasks among technology, innovation, environmental protection and the straight engagement with local communities
South Africa’s rise in the world of renewables began in 2011, when government officials came to realize the potential of solar and wind energy just waiting to be harnessed and as a potent stimulus for sustainable development.
That year coincided with the launching of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Procurement Programme (REIPPP), an initiative that fostered global investment in the national renewable energy sector.
The REIPPP is now a global poster child for renewable energy operators in the way it has combined the skills of the private sector with the investment coming from the public sector in a highly competitive tender system that keeps energy prices fair and balanced.
By 2019, South Africa will boast an overall installed renewable capacity of 5,000 MW, rising to 17,800 MW by 2030.
South Africa’s sun and wind
Since the onset of the REIPPP programme, Enel Green Power pride itself on being one of its first privileged partners and thanks to a continuous push for technological innovation and a wide field experience gained throughout the five continents, EGP is now the main renewable energy supplier for South Africa’s state-owned utility Eskom.
Public tenders have bestowed EGP with a total capacity of 1,200 MW, 500 of which are already generated by 5 solar parks and 2 wind farms.
Our first renewable power plant in the South Africa was the Upington solar photovoltaic park, opened in 2014 with 10 MW of installed capacity. This was shortly followed by the Tom Burke solar plant (66MW), declared a site of national interest in 2017.
Last year saw the opening of three new solar parks: Adams, Pulida and Paleisheuwel, all boasting 82.5 MW of installed power.
The sun is not alone, as wind plays a large part in EGP’s local mix of renewables, thanks to the Nojoli and Gibson Bay, with the latter being our largest in the country, with thirtyseven 3 MW towers delivering a total power of 111 MW.
In September 2017, EGP reached an impressive milestone: a total power of 1TWh delivered to South Africa’s grid since Upington’s opening.
A story yet to be told
Although EGP has a long standing presence in South Africa, our story still promises many chapters of untold stories ahead.
One side of the story tells of the construction of new cutting-edge power plants while the other, tells a tale of our CSV (Creating Shared Value) ventures that work hand in hand with local communities in sustainable development projects.
A series of new energy projects calls for the construction of 5 wind farms, awarded during round 4 of the REIPPP. Namely, the Garob (138 MW), Karusa (142 MW) and Soetwater (142 MW) plants in the Northern Cape region, as well as Oyster Bay (142 MW) and Nxuba (142 MW) in the Eastern Cape.
Meanwhile, the CSV ventures move along the paths of education and the fight against hunger we’ve blazed ever since first landing in South Africa.
For instance, the Soul Provider Trust NGO was our partner in developing a project that guaranteed the daily nourishment for over 3,500 schoolchildren in Eastern Cape schools.
We also humbly followed Nelson Mandela’s steps in his vision for education as the key for development. Madiba’s legacy was instrumental in our opening of the “Enel Play Energy” initiative, where six South African schools competed in a renewable-themed contest: the grand prize was a School-in-a-Box kit, boasting a router with internet connection and up to 10 tablets for the participants to use.
The 2017 edition of the Play Energy award was clinched by the Adelaide Gymnasium of Cookhouse, in the Eastern Cape. Its entry was the “Cow Power”, a cunning device that transforms mechanical energy of a cattle farm in electricity.
The “Cow Power” device from the Cookhouse boys and girls is just a glaring example of energy’s power when it’s shared and unleashed in its full potential.
This South African energy isn’t all about numbers and installed power, but mostly, it’s about ideas, innovation and sustainable development.