In South Africa, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel has set a target for state-owned financier Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to invest R100bn ($8.09bn) over the next five years.
The ICD invested almost R13bn ($1.052bn) last year, while in the preceding five years it averaged annual loan advances of about R6.5bn ($5.26m).This means the IDC will need to push itself to reach a theoretical R20bn-a-year ($1.618bn) investment goal.
To achieve this the organisation is proactively seeking out businesses in the agro-processing, renewable energy, manufacturing, industrial infrastructure, mining, and manufacturing sectors.
Renewable energy localisation
Geoffrey Qhena, chief executive of the IDC told Business Day on Friday: “We need to be proactive. That means we need to engage more with existing and aspiring entrepreneurs.”
In view of this, the IDC is talking to multinational companies about sourcing more of their goods locally.
Qhena said: “Our guys are talking to the OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) in the automotive sector to see what parts can be produced locally. There are also talks with retailers to see what can be procured by them locally.”
The IDC will review investments it has made in renewable energy, because the level of “localisation” is not where it should be.
According to Qhena the IDC’s efforts to drive localisation included funding of a Coega-based company that produces towers for wind energy generation.
He added that the IDC was also working on funding two projects manufacturing thin-film solar panels.
The IDC recently established a division for ‘new industries’ to fund businesses with disruptive technologies, that includes renewable energy innovations.
It is deepening ties with universities and institutions including the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research as well as the Technology Innovation Agency to gauge the commercial viability of projects.
Wind energy construction
In further news, Murray & Roberts Infrastructure is working on a variety of projects in the roadworks and civil arena, including work on a number of renewable energy wind farm contracts for Mainstream.
According to Eric Wisse, managing director of Murray & Roberts Infrastructure, the first bases for Noupoort’s 35 wind turbine generator wind farm have been poured and site establishment has begun for the Loeriesfontein and Khobab wind farm contract.
Each of these wind farms will have 61 wind turbine generator foundations, with a combined construction period of 30 months.
Murray & Roberts Infrastructure has also been awarded the contract for the design and construction of the civil balance of plant for the De Aar 1 Maanhaarberg Wind Farm for Longyuan Engineering South Africa (Pty) Ltd.
When completed, this wind farm will contribute 100MW into the national grid utilising 66 wind turbines.