24 Mar 11 News South Africa

New renewable energy consortium announces plans to bid under South Africa’s REFIT and IRP2010 programmes

Mainstream Renewable Power South Africa today unveiled its bidding consortium for South Africa’s forthcoming REFIT and IRP2010 programmes. The consortium includes one of South Africa’s leading BEE investment management companies; Thebe Investment Corporation; rural development agency AsgiSA-EC as well as local engineering companies Enzani Technologies and Usizo Engineering Ltd. Strategic delivery partners supporting the consortium include Siemens Energy Africa and Absa Capital.

The consortium, along with its strategic delivery partners, has come together to achieve two specific objectives; to deliver the highest quality wind and solar projects in the market, and to create long-term sustainable value for South Africa. It will involve significant skills and technology transfer from Europe with the potential to establish South Africa as the renewable energy hub for Africa.

Speaking at the launch, Mainstream South Africa’s Davin Chown said: “We’ve brought together some of the most competent and respected South African companies supported by international players with a strong track record in wind and solar project delivery. By doing this we achieve two goals; firstly we’ve de-risked the entire project delivery process, making our projects fully bankable and readily deployable. This addresses government’s concerns in relation to guaranteeing project delivery.  Secondly we’ve put in place a unique and robust structure to ensure the value created by these projects is directly channelled towards addressing key challenges in agriculture, rural development, poverty alleviation and BBEEE.”

Vusi Khanyile, executive chairman of Thebe Investment Corporation said: “We are happy to be part of this innovative, sustainable solution to South Africa’s energy requirements which will allow some of the country’s most rural communities to experience growth and development. The project will fall under the auspices of Thebe’s recently established Power and Infrastructure business unit aimed at investigating opportunities around creating the necessary infrastructure to meet the requirements of South Africa’s growing economy.”

The consortium’s strategic delivery team includes:

· Siemens Energy Africa: By the end of 2010, Siemens had over 11,000MW of wind and solar projects installed globally. Siemens will be responsible for engineering, equipment supply, construction and operations.

· Mainstream Renewable Power: Mainstream is currently developing over 12,000MW of wind and solar plant across four continents. Its people have delivered over 2,000MW of energy projects across four continents. The organisation has in-house expertise in Wind Analysis, Procurement, Engineering, Finance, Construction and Operations & Maintenance.

· Genesis Eco-Energy: Genesis is Mainstream's local project development partner with extensive experience in energy strategy, policy formulation, energy trading, financial services, land, agriculture and rural development.

· Absa Capital: Absa Capital is the consortium's Financial Advisor and Lead Arranger with responsibility for structuring and underwriting project finance for all REFIT 1 projects.

Local consortium partners include:

· Thebe Investment Corporation: A pioneer in the field of empowerment and one of South Africa’s most established BEE Investment management companies with a total of R5.5 billion of assets under management. Its innovative approach to empowerment is driven by a commitment to socially embed wealth creation to serve the broader interests of the community.

· AsgiSA-Eastern Cape:  A subsidiary of the Eastern Cape Rural Finance Corporation, it’s focused on delivering a vibrant and sustainable rural economy that improves livelihoods and unlocks the dormant potential of the land and the people of the Eastern Cape.

· Usizo Engineering: A 100% black owned South African firm in the technical field of Consulting Electrical Engineering.

· Enzani Technologies: A black women-owned and managed engineering entity, specialising in Electrical & Instrumentation Engineering contracting.