Africa Energy Indaba

Firm Commitment by SA Wind Industry to Deliver ‘Beyond Compliance’

  • SAWEA issued a commitment statement at the recent Windaba Conference which sets out a vision for optimising the industry’s long-term investment in the physical, social, environmental and economic development of the country – beyond compliance.
  • SAWEA further seeks to transform and indigenize leadership at all levels in the South African Renewable Energy sector.

A Commitment Statement drafted by members of the Wind energy industry has been adopted at an Annual General Meeting of the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA). The statement sets out a vision for optimising the industry’s long-term investment in the physical, social, environmental and economic development of the country – beyond compliance.

“It has been rewarding to coordinate the drafting of the Industry commitment to South Africa and in the process to consider what we are able to contribute to socio-economic transformation over a 20-year time horizon,” says Brenda Martin, CEO of SAWEA.

Traditionally, Industry charters are made with hindsight by mature industries.  Recognising the opportunity to set a vision early on that can serve as a touchstone for the maturing Industry, the relatively young SA Wind Industry makes this commitment at a vital moment in its growth.

“Being aware of the fears experienced by those affected by the energy transition underway in South Africa, we are articulating our ability to making meaningful contributions to employment creation and socio-economic transformation,” she says.

The Commitment Statement notes some distinct industry features, which can be leveraged:

  • The REIPPPP has a built-in demand for local procurement, which not only offers business opportunities to local companies, it also incentivises the Industry to identify emerging entrepreneurs, especially in rural areas, and assist them to achieve high performance goals.
  • The industry is able to use its own clout to assist emerging entrepreneurs in accessing finance.
  • Contract terms demand that wind industry players seek opportunities to make contributions to local social and economic development within each operator’s catchment area (a radius of 50 kilometres). This has evolved; companies now able to voluntarily extend their activities while meeting their contractual obligations, with the aim of making long-term impacts beyond compliance.
  • The industry sees opportunities to sculpt a management and employment profile which reflects a fair and ethical culture that enables skills development and advancement for the young, the disadvantaged and for women; and to grow a people and ownership profile reflective of the demographics of our country.

“Our aim over time is to transform and indigenize leadership at all levels in the South African Renewable Energy sector,” says the Commitment Statement.

Transformation of industries and communities through localisation, skills development and socio-economic interventions support the goals of the NDP and local development plans.

With several rounds of accepted bids behind them, key members of SAWEA have had some years of experience in implementing the requirements engineered into the contracts.  With the Commitment Statement for the industry, they are crystallising what they have learnt, and taking the opportunity to express an important outgrowth of the terms under which they operate: a unique further commitment to the country and to the people.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

Source: TM Communications

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