UK has funded 254 MW of clean energy projects in South Africa, including hydro

The UK Government’s International Climate Finance program, UK Climate Investments, has financed a total of 254 MW of clean energy projects in South Africa. The milestone was reached after the recent inauguration of the 4-MW Kruisvallei Hydro facility in the Free State province.

The run-of-river Kruisvallei Hydro is the last of three renewable energy projects part-financed by UK Climate Investments. The other two renewable projects are the 110-MW Perdekraal East Wind Farm in the Western Cape province and the 140-MW Kangnas Wind Farm in the Northern Cape province, commissioned in October and November last year, respectively.

“It has been an honor to see these important projects come to life over the past two years,” said Richard Abel, managing director of UK Climate Investments. “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.”

To realize the projects, UK Climate Investments’ R253 million ($17 million) partnered with the majority black-owned and managed developer of renewable energy projects H1 Holdings. The partnership has created around 385 jobs during construction phase and is expected to provide a further 195 jobs over the projects’ 20-year lifecycle.

“We are pressing for greater ambition globally to meet the Paris Agreement’s goals,” said Nigel Casey, British High Commissioner to South Africa. “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 program, run through UK Climate Investments and Macquarie, has supported job creation, localization and black ownership in this sector.”

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 about 844,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually over their lifetime, which is equivalent to taking 182,000 cars off the road for a year. 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 about £70 million ($96 million) over three years to support the development of clean energy and green finance markets in sub-Saharan Africa.

This article originally was published on the ESI-Africa site and was reprinted here with permission.

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