• A stitch in time

    South African Renewable Energy Council (SAREC), 12 April 2017

    A sewing workshop which supports disabled women in the rural Western Cape is an example of the kind of development project that could benefit from the revenues generated by a local wind farm, if Eskom gives the go-ahead for the power plant to be built.

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  • Small enterprise incubation in the Northern Cape

    South African Renewable Energy Council (SAREC), 20 March 2017
    Owners of the small black-owned businesses that have been contracted to do the cleaning, vegetation management, and other maintenance-type work at the solar power plant outside Groblershoop in the Northern Cape, are graduating from a year-long incubation programme that aims to transform them into viable operations that serve a wider customer base. Eskom’s delays in signing contracts with some power producers at sites elsewhere in the country, jeopardises similar development initiatives. Read more
  • Get them while they’re young: aspirational jobs for Northern Cape

    South African Renewable Energy Council (SAREC), 20 March 2017

    Eskom’s delays in signing the final contracts with the private companies that are scheduled to build a series of solar power plants in the Northern Cape, are throttling back development work that aims to nurture a generation of engineers and technicians and skilled professionals here. In these educational ‘backwaters’, schools are underfunded, literacy is low, and the dropout rates bleak. Intervention needs to start at kindergarten-level.

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  • Filling the math-science gap in the Northern Cape

    South African Renewable Energy Council (SAREC), 14 March 2017

    Eskom’s delays in signing the final contracts with the private companies that are scheduled to build a series of solar power plants in the Northern Cape, are throttling back development work that aims to nurture a generation of engineers and technicians and skilled professionals here. In these educational ‘backwaters’, schools are underfunded, literacy is low, and the dropout rates bleak. Intervention needs to start at kindergarten-level. 

    Wanted: technically-minded school-leavers with maths and science as their subjects.  

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  • Doctor on call: Renewable energy revenues support healthcare in under-serviced rural areas

    South African Renewable Energy Council (SAREC), 14 March 2017

    Until now, if people in and around Groblershoop in the Northern Cape needed to see a state doctor, they’d have to wait a month for the travelling government clinician to stop in town for a single day. And then they’d have to queue at the local clinic, alongside every other person who had also been waiting for weeks to get treatment, and hope there would be enough time in the day for the doctor to see everyone.

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  • Renewables representative body responds to Coal Transportation Forum's protest action

    South African Renewable Energy Council (SAREC), 1 March 2017

    The South African Renewable Energy Council (SAREC) has issued a statement in response to the Coal Transportation Forum’s press notice, relating to the reasons behind their unfortunate industrial action in Tshwane this morning. SAREC believes that the statement contains a number of factual errors which need correcting.  “We would like to firstly point out that the reduced coal consumption of up to 10 million tonnes by 2021 is actually part of Government’s policy and it is consistent with South Africa’s climate change commitment,” says Brenda Martin, Chair of SAREC.

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  • Eskom renewable energy IPP delays threaten transport investments

    Leonie Joubert, 27 February 2017

    Delays by Eskom to sign off the next round of state-commissioned wind farms has cost a local black-owned transport and rigging company 30 jobs since November 2016.

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  • Boom box for hire

    Leonie Joubert, 21 February 2017

    When a 44 megawatt solar plant turned on its lights just outside the Karoo town of Touws River in December 2014, a percentage of the revenue it earned from selling electricity to the national grid immediately started trickling through into the town’s sluggish economy. Leonie Joubert visited some of the businesses that are part of an enterprise incubation scheme.

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  • At the gates

    Leonie Joubert, 20 February 2017

    When a 44 megawatt solar plant was built just outside the Karoo town of Touws River, the private consortium that owns it had to ensure that some of the people it hired to help run the place are from nearby communities. Leonie Joubert met the security guards at the gate.

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  • The Busy Bees

    Leonie Joubert, 17 February 2017

    When a 44 megawatt solar plant turned on its lights just outside the Karoo town of Touws River in December 2014, a percentage of the revenue it earned from selling electricity to the national grid immediately started trickling through into the town’s sluggish economy. Leonie Joubert visited one of the businesses that is part of an enterprise incubation scheme there.

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  • Wired to the sun

    Leonie Joubert, 16 February 2017

    Since the 44 megawatt solar plant just outside the Karoo town of Touws River started selling electricity to the national grid in December 2014, a percentage of its revenue has been ploughed into giving study opportunities, work experience, and jobs to youngsters who might otherwise have few opportunities in the region’s lacklustre economy. Leonie Joubert met one of the plant’s ‘light voltage’ electricians.

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  • Eskom delays threaten local wind tower factory

    Leonie Joubert, 9 February 2017

    If Eskom does not sign off on the next round of state-commissioned wind farms within the next few weeks, one of South Africa’s two wind tower manufacturers will be forced to close its Port Elizabeth-based factory and lay off the remaining 143 staff. The facility is expected to close in April.

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  • Renewable sector calls for stable energy policy environment

    Leonie Joubert, 7 February 2017

    Leonie Joubert is a regular contributor to the Heinrich Boll Foundation’s Energy Transitions. This column was published by the HBF this week.

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  • A carpenter by trade

    Leonie Joubert, 6 February 2017

    The West Coast town of Hopefield needs social services, improved schooling, and enterprise development. As part of its social responsibility commitments, a nearby wind farm is directing some of its revenue to plugging the holes in the local education system. By Leonie Joubert.

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  • 'White City'

    Leonie Joubert, 6 February 2017

    When the turbines of the Hopefield Wind Farm first started spinning in December 2014, a percentage of the revenue earned from feeding power into South Africa’s electricity grid was immediately channeled towards injecting life into the town’s sluggish economy, and investing in bettering the lives of people in the local community. By Leonie Joubert.

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  • Eskom delays block jobs in wind energy sector

    Leonie Joubert, 6 February 2017

    South Africa’s fledgling wind turbine service technician training programme will be ‘skilling its graduates for unemployment’ if construction on the next round of state-commissioned wind farms doesn’t begin within the forthcoming year.

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  • Legal opinion says Eskom is acting outside of the law

    South African Renewable Energy Council (SAREC), 18 January 2017

    Senior counsel at Webber Wentzel has issued a legal opinion letter, which states that preferred bidders in the latter rounds of South Africa’s Renewable Energy IPP Procurement programme (REIPPP) are entitled to approach a court to enforce Eskom’s signature of Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). “In our opinion Eskom cannot sidestep the binding determination of the Minister; they are bound by the Ministerial determination, which includes signing the power purchase agreements,” stated Advocate David Unterhalter, Senior Counsel at Webber Wentzel.

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  • SAREC calls for public participation to address concerns

    South African Renewable Energy Council (SAREC), 30 November 2016

    Whilst the South African Renewable Energy Council (SAREC) has welcomed the 2016 update of the Integrated Energy Plan (IEP) and Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), it is advocating that the public participation process addresses a number of concerns that the industry has raised.

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  • South Africa’s new energy plan has sparked strong emotions. Here’s why

    Hartmut Winkler, 29 November 2016

    The much awaited updated South African Integrated Resource Plan for electricity has been released for comment.

    The document makes far-reaching proposals about the target energy generation mix leading all the way to 2050. In particular, the plan pronounces on the future scale and role of nuclear energy and renewable energy technologies. The appropriateness of these has been debated a great deal in the country in the past few years.

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  • WWF on South Africa's power generation plan: More renewables & no nuclear

    WWF South Africa, 24 November 2016

    WWF South Africa welcomes the release of the long-awaited draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), and the proposed delay on the nuclear build. However, we echo the sentiment of others that the proposed nuclear build should be taken off the table altogether and more renewable energy should be added into the mix.

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  • South Africa's wind energy industry responds to SA Government's updated power plan

    South African Wind Energy Association, 23 November 2016

    The wind energy sector has applauded the release of the 2016 update of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) and the accompanying public consultation process that will enable all South Africans to engage electricity planners on investment choices – transparently and with a focus on least-cost.

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  • “Public participation is crucial to progressing South Africa’s electricity plan” says Faith Communities

    Heinrich Böll Foundation & SAFCEI, 23 November 2016

    Yesterday, South Africans got their first glimpse at the Department of Energy’s (DoE) proposed electricity plans. The proposals suggested in the plan came as no surprise to the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environmental Institute (SAFCEI) and Earthlife Africa Johannesburg (ELA-JHB), who eagerly await their day in court (13 and 14 December) to oppose the SA government’s unconstitutional approach to the country’s energy planning.

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  • South African photovoltaic industry association welcomes Government’s updated energy plan

    South African Photovoltaic Industry Association, 22 November 2016

    The South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA) welcomes the release of the 2016 update of the long-awaited Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). The updated IRP will give all South Africans the opportunity to interrogate the choices and cost assumptions used by the IRP planners to reach their conclusions regarding technology choices.

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  • Wind energy conference leaves industry with a clear pathway toward achieving a greater share of renewables for South Africa

    South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA), 10 November 2016

    One of the predominant themes of Windaba 2016, Africa’s leading wind energy event held earlier this week in Cape Town, was what it would take to successfully achieve the energy transition needed to achieve South Africa’s commitment to the Paris Cop 21 agreement which was ratified this week. 

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  • Africa's inaugural wind industry conference concluded in Cape Town

    South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA), 3 November 2016

    WindAc Africa, the first academic wind energy conference on the African continent, was concluded in Cape Town earlier this week. The two-day conference offered a forum for academics and researchers to share the latest data and intelligence on the finer technicalities of the wind energy industry.

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