Much-needed funding is helping to transform South Africa’s energy mix.
UK Climate Investments has marked the delivery of 254MWh of clean energy projects it has helped finance in South Africa following the inauguration of Kruisvallei Hydro, a 4MWh run-of-river hydropower facility in the Free State province.
Kruisvallei Hydro is the last of three renewable energy projects part-financed by the UK government’s International Climate Finance programme, UK Climate Investments, to have entered commercial operation. The milestone at Kruisvallei Hydro follows the successful delivery of the 110MWh Perdekraal East Wind Farm in the Western Cape province and the 140MWh Kangnas Wind Farm in the Northern Cape province in October and November last year.
UK Climate Investments’ R253 million (£13m) partnership with the majority black-owned and managed developer of renewable energy projects H1 Holdings has created around 385 jobs during construction phase and is expected to provide a further 195 jobs over the project’s 20-year lifecycle.
Richard Abel, managing director of UK Climate Investments, said: “It has been an honour to see these important projects come to life over the past two years. In addition to supporting South Africa’s low carbon transition by providing enough clean electricity to power nearly 200,000 homes per year, these projects have delivered opportunities for employment, skills development, and investment in rural communities across the region.”
Nigel Casey, British High Commissioner to South Africa, said: “As the COP26 presidency we are pressing for greater ambition globally to meet the Paris Agreement’s goals. This needs us to accelerate the global transition to clean power, benefitting from low cost and sustainable energy sources such as the Kruisvallei Hydro plant. The UK is committed to supporting green, resilient and inclusive recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and I am delighted that this innovative UK programme, run through UK Climate Investments and Macquarie, has supported job creation, localisation and black ownership in this sector,” Casey said.
Reyburn Hendricks, chief executive officer of H1 Holdings, said: “Much-needed funding is required to transform South Africa’s energy mix and promote cleaner, greener energy systems. Our partnership with UK Climate Investments has been critical to the delivery of these projects, which will play a role in supporting South Africa to build back better and greener from the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The three projects will help avoid approximately 844,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per annum over their lifetime, which is equivalent to taking 182,000 cars off the road for a year. In addition to supporting South Africa’s low carbon transition, each project has also committed a percentage of its annual revenue to community initiatives supporting education, housing and sustainable enterprise development in surrounding areas.
Through the UK International Climate Finance, UK Climate Investments has committed approximately £70m over three years to support the development of clean energy and green finance markets in sub-Saharan Africa. UK Climate Investments is a cornerstone investor in Revego African Energy Limited, a first-of-a-kind dedicated renewable energy public yieldco in sub-Saharan Africa which intends to list on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. UK Climate Investments is also helping to finance the construction of affordable green housing in Kenya.