Renewable energy company Enel Green Power (EGP) South Africa is contributing to the country’s renewable energy industry, as well as undertaking various initiatives to uplift communities locally, speakers said during a virtual media roundtable hosted by the company on August 5.
EGP has 12 wind and solar plants in South Africa. This entailed nine projects in operation and three under construction, EGP South Africa country manager William Price outlined.
This journey in the country began in 2011, when the company participated in the first round of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme – which Price highlighted as the first African programme for the development of renewable energy with a competitive tender system.
The company had an overall installed capacity of just over 800 MW in the country, Price pointed out.
It has two projects in the Northern Cape, four in the Eastern Cape, one in the Western Cape, one in the Free State and one in Limpopo.
Projects under construction are located in the Northern Cape and Price acclaimed that these were all at an advanced stage, with the company anticipating reaching commercial operation this year.
Price emphasised that EGP was invested and committed to empowering its people, with this undertaken through community upliftment programmes and enterprise development, preferential procurement, and job creation in surrounding communities.
EGP South Africa community relations and sustainability head Lizeka Dlepu elaborated that the company’s host communities were riddled with challenges including an unskilled labour force, high unemployment rate, chronic poverty, low levels of education, a lack of resources and inadequate infrastructure.
“Through various interventions, we assist out host communities with much-needed infrastructure and life-changing programmes.
“We also assist small business and youth to improve their skills and create suitable businesses,” she said.
Dlepu explained that the company’s approach to socioeconomic development (SED) was one that involved communities in meaningful decision-making and implementation of programmes impacting and affecting them.
All projects implemented follow the company’s creating shared value model and are informed by community needs assessment and asset mapping analysis, and are aligned to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
EPG has committed to six SDGs – education, health, water and sanitation, zero hunger, clean energy and economic inclusion – and its SED programmes align to these.
EGP has implemented 26 education projects with 12 000 beneficiaries; four health-related projects, benefiting 5 000 people; four water and sanitation projects; five zero hunger projects; six clean energy projects; and 87 economic inclusion projects.
Moreover, EGP has also undertaken enterprise development projects. This includes two beneficiaries for arts and culture; nine beneficiaries for water and environmental management; six beneficiaries for manufacturing; and 54 beneficiaries for hospitality.