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Renewable energy investors struggle in former homelands

Author: Kwanele Sosibo

The Eastern Cape is an ideal location for generating wind-driven power, but the former homelands are missing out on the government’s renewable energy drive because of problems with securing lease agreements. 

Since 2011, 92 solar and wind projects around the country, in four out of the five bidding rounds in the energy department’s renewable energy independent power producer procurement programme, have been allocated. This amounts to R193-billion of investment by the private sector. 

A R19-billion contribution to socioeconomic development will be spent during the projects’ 20-year life cycles. This will be spent in a 50km radius of each wind turbine. Another R6-billion is set aside for enterprise development programmes. 

Eskom signed power-purchase agreements with the successful bidders to buy their electricity at a set price for two decades to give the companies a guaranteed market. 

But developers are avoiding communally owned land because of the onerous process involved in securing leasehold agreements on these tracts.

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