Socio Economic Development

H1 Holdings and Scaled Impact, supported by the Industrial Development Corporation are launching a Project Management Office to promote and foster collaboration across the renewable energy sector in South Africa.

A pilot programme in the Northern Cape Namakwa and ZF Mgcawu districts together with the Democracy Works Foundation identified more than US$ 5 billion in investment opportunities and created a linked pipeline of socio-economic development initiatives.

The Independent Power Producer industry in the Northern Cape has committed approximately 1.5 percent of their revenues to be re-invested into social economic and enterprise development initiatives. Over twenty years this is a major investment in the future of communities.

The challenge is to co-ordinate the application of these funds and resources across dozens of renewable energy projects and operators. Also, to connect them to other industries with similar contributions like mining and to link all of this into the government’s wider development plans.

Using these funds as a catalyst for projects, to match third party funds, to close service gaps, to raise skills and involve marginal communities can put the entire region on a positive development path for the next twenty years and more.

The renewable energy investor H1 Holdings together with the project developer Scaled Impact and the social justice NGO, the Democracy Works Foundation, concluded the design of a mechanism to deliver this collaboration.

Backed by the IDC they developed a twenty year perspective on the development potential in a region from Namakwaland to Upington, matching the locations and timing of various solar and wind farm investments in which H1 is a shareholder.

They identified a base of great value in the region. World-scale strategic mineral reserves in a solar and wind energy corridor give the area a head-start in potential manufacturing for future green industries from solar panels to batteries.

Grape, date and citrus farms supply world markets and have large expansion potential. Up to 4,000 hectares of suitable land are potentially open for establishment by emerging farmers. The Orange River Valley is the second largest raisin producing region in the world enabling new, community- owned production. The team is already working to support implementation.

Other opportunities in high tech automotive testing and R&D and aviation recycling provide a base for a high tech cluster. Around this the region is a global bio-diversity hotspot. Natural resources in flora and fauna can be preserved through reserves, protective farming practices and bio-technology applications to create a bio-diversity economy.

Investments in the natural environment are particularly valuable as ways for work with the Nama, Khoi and San peoples living in remoter areas, for adapting life to climate change and protecting fragile natural capital.

The team identified a set of investments in healthcare, social services, energy and water infrastructure and telecoms infrastructure that aim to raise living standards and improve livelihoods steadily. Citizen participation, enabling people to contribute to government planning and democratic processes is at the heart of this activity.

Finally, a framework was created to monitor and evaluate IPP social and economic development and enterprise development activities. It fully links the requirements of the IPP Office, provincial and national government policy and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Project Management Office has a wide mandate across sectors and a long time horizon. It will spend the next year engaging with stakeholders and representatives. It will establish implementation partnerships at the provincial and national level. It will gather resources and set up to deliver transformational community growth and development, to maximise the benefits and positive impact of the renewable energy sector. Above all, it is driving the implementation of development projects.

For more information and access to the work done visit the landing page