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Social Economic Development – cornerstone of SA’s Renewable Energy Programme

WindThe Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) is a comprehensive programme which doesn’t just pave the way for affordable, green electrons on the grid from Independent Power Producers (IPPs).

It also requires – no, actually solicits – localised community development, in addition to job creation and skills development.

In a nutshell, IPPs under the REIPPP programme are obliged to make a contribution to local economic development in the immediate geographic area of the power plants. Procurement rules stipulate that projects spend a percentage of revenue on Socio Economic Development (SED) and Enterprise Development (ED) as well as allocate ownership to local communities depending on the obligations they signed up for in the bid documents.

However, whilst the private sector may have embraced the challenge, meaningful local economic development and socio-economic development strategies are not without their difficulties. In fact, some studies refer to ‘the potential for delivery failure on socioeconomic and enterprise development criteria’.

A number of the 64 approved IPPs are looking to the Department of Energy for additional guidance. There is most definitely a lack of community engagement experience amongst developers and the DOE is challenged by a shortage of monitory capacity.

Potential risks and challenges:
The projects in the main are situated in areas with depressed economies. In most instances there is a lack of delivery mechanisms which includes amongst others, limited numbers (if any) of non-governmental organisations and/ or entrepreneurs that are large enough to absorb….

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