The renewable energy sector in South Africa has the potential to significantly improve socio-economic benefits in rural communities through development programmes. However to date, policies to support these communities have been hampered due to policy uncertainty; contested public discourse about the role of the sector in the energy transition of the country; a lack of knowledge and capacity and the nascent nature of the South African renewables industry.
With this in mind, Actis Acts, through Actis Energy 3's Pan-African renewable platforms, Lekela is supporting the Renewable Energy Centre of Excellence (RE CoE) in Social Performance. The project has five main areas of activity: training, research, community development, stakeholder engagement and innovation.
The primary focus of Actis Acts and Lekela’s involvement with RE CoE is capacity building, training, and research. A Community of Practice and Leadership Development Programme will support, develop and mentor a cohort of high potential professionals. The programme will enable these professionals to establish themselves as voices of the sector's social performance and economic development concerns, thereby developing the energy sector in South Africa.
This increase in local renewable energy projects will provide significant socioeconomic and local enterprise development opportunities. Local community ownership of those opportunities will ensure that the economic benefits touch members of the community beyond those directly affected. The CoE program will also support the pilot implementation, incubation, and prototyping of locally relevant renewables industry innovations.
The CoE is designed to facilitate national and international scaling. Successful execution of the program as a pilot may unlock funding from other counterparties, who would further scale our efforts. Actis’ Energy 4 Pan-African renewable platform, BioTherm is working closely with Lekela and Actis Acts on the initiative.