A social impact study done by infrastructure investment managers Umoya Energy has found that the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPP) is effective in delivering on social benefits through meaningful initiatives.
Umoya Energy regional community operations manager Veronique Isaacs says the renewable energy industry’s socioeconomic development mandate is unique to South Africa and the study on local community investment shows that, through targeted beneficiary programmes, it can make a lasting and impactful difference.
While the majority of the industry’s socioeconomic development programmes have singled out education as a primary focus, Umoya Energy created a multi-tiered project that is designed to improve the social and economic wellbeing of residents within the Saldanha Bay local municipality, and specifically Hopefield.
Umoya says that the focus of the impact study found that the Hopefield home improvement project phase 1 has been effective in improving living conditions, with 99% of residents affirming this.
The home improvement project has been benefiting the community of Hopefield since 2014. This programme aims to upgrade almost 1 000 low-income households over a six-year period, as well as provide skills training and create local enterprises.
It is estimated that this project already benefited more than 3 000 residents, whose lives are more comfortable, especially during the winter. Insulation, solar heated water, safe electrical installation and carpentry have gone a long way to improve lives in this community, notes Isaacs.
The Hopefield home improvement project’s enterprise development programme is designed to develop skills of local businesses to be sustainable to ensure enduring benefits for this community.
“The development and support of these enterprises also means local employment, secured by a three-year contract with Umoya Energy, to upgrade local low-income homes,” says Isaacs.
Umoya’s Hopefield Wind Farm was selected as a preferred bidder in round one of the REIPPPP.