Implementing economic development in rural communities

April 24th, 2018, Published in Articles: Energize

The South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) is working with key constituencies to help improve the implementation of economic development components through industry practice.

A final workshop in a series hosted by SAWEA brought together key representatives of the three constituencies concerned with economic development in the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).  Parties included economic development directors of project companies, community trustees and employees of community trusts.  Each of these groups focus on the implementation of distinct facets of local economic development in rural communities adjacent to wind farms in the Northern, Eastern and Western Capes.

Participants of the community trust workshop.

Participants used the opportunity to improve mutual understanding of the policy basis for economic development in the renewable energy procurement programme and to lay a foundation for increased effectiveness of trusts across provinces.  Representing each of the three provinces which now boast the highest volume of renewable energy utility power plants in South Africa, participants recognised the value of improved collective knowledge to ensure more effective, engaged community trusts.

Improved collective knowledge will also enable the three constituencies to drive improved effectiveness of implementation in compliance with existing renewable programme rules, and to recommend adjustments to future rules.

The national renewables programme seeks to ensure that Independent Power Producers (IPPs) include minimum shareholding for community trusts. This ownership structure has been built into the IPP business framework and goes beyond typical CSI efforts to bridge a number of socio-economic interests. Such public/private partnerships have an important role to play in strengthening local communities.

One of the objectives of the workshop was to develop a deeper understanding of the experiences of community trustees and community trust conveners. The latter are administrators employed by trusts. The workshop concluded with recommendations to industry, community trusts and government.

Contact Brenda Martin, SAWEA, Tel 011 214-0660,


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