Journal of Energy in Southern Africa
On-line version ISSN 2413-3051
WLOKAS, Holle Linnea; BOYD, Anya and ANDOLFI, Marco. Challenges for local community development in private sector-led renewable energy projects in South Africa: An evolving approach. J. energy South. Afr. [online]. 2012, vol.23, n.4, pp. 46-51. ISSN 2413-3051.
The Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme in South Africa is intended to support the uptake of renewable energy, help address the current energy supply crisis and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. Notably, it also requires project developers to engage with socio-economic development at the local level. The distributed nature of renewable energy generation may induce a more geographically dispersed pattern of development, and renewable energy sites can be highly suited to rural locations with otherwise poor potential to attract local inward investment. Socio-economic development and enterprise development are two of seven economic development elements in the programme. In order to prepare a bid submission, project developers have to assess local socio-economic needs around their project site and develop strategies on how to address these. This paper investigates the challenges for local community development. The research is based on case studies and presents findings from the perspective of a research team working alongside project developers. Early findings indicate that there are potential community benefits from commercial wind projects, providing an appropriate community engagement process that is aligned with the project cycle determined by the tender process and engineering requirements. The Passive Community Needs Assessment approach is introduced as a possible solution.
Keywords : renewable energy; community development; socio-economic development; Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme.