Sustainable energy = sustainable communities

Bianca Jordan (Client Relationship Manager) |

Renewable energy projects continue offering hope for much-needed power access for under-served communities across South Africa. As a partner in this critical space, we’re already helping add impact to some of these projects through targeted value-added initiatives.

 With contracts for 27 new renewable energy projects recently signed by the Department of Energy, South Africa is starting to unlock the potential of a far more diverse and sustainable energy mix. But the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) behind these projects want the impact of their initiatives to extend beyond sustainable and reliable power – they want to deliver ongoing socio-economic benefits to communities too.

As a social investment partner with a deep understanding of local needs and the legislative landscape, Tshikululu manages trusts ranging from R1 million to R200 million per year, and disburses individual grants ranging from R50 000 to R10 million.  As such, we are a critical partner to many of these IPPs, assisting them to identify local beneficiaries and NPOs and then channel and manage the funds for maximum impact.

Our approach is a strategic one, and has been informed by the work we’ve done over the past 20 years across portfolios including mining, agriculture, property and engineering. We start with community assessments to determine real needs, assets and opportunities for sustained impact.

Our approach to community development is also asset-based; where we promote and celebrate existing assets. We then partner with the IPP to develop a community-centred socio-economic development strategy. In this way we work to ensure real – and measurable – value, both for clients and communities.

A recent engagement saw us assess over 10 Northern and Eastern Cape communities to develop socio-economic development strategies for inclusion in a round of bidding for six power purchase agreements on behalf of a European-South African consortium. This is really exciting work for us: it speaks to the potential of these projects to touch communities which traditionally struggle to source investment given their outlying locations.

We also designed a socio-economic development plan which was awarded the highest score in the Department of Energy’s evaluation in one particular round, and developed a number of successful education-related programmes which they are rolling out as part of IPP partnerships.

We look forward to continuing to engage with current and prospective IPP partners to realise the strategic impact of the space, ensuring that renewable energy remains a catalyst for positive change in some of our most disadvantaged communities.