A private partnership agreement for the provision of renewable energy in South Africa was signed during a govern- ment-level Chinese-South African energy summit, held in Cape Town.
The agreement was signed between Cape Town-based renewable-energy company Mulilo Renewable Energy (MRE) and Asian wind farm developer China Longyuan Corporation.
The new company resulting from the agreement, to be called Longyuan-Mulilo Green Energy, also includes the China-Africa Development Fund.
The agreement was signed by MRE chairperson Chris Aberdein and China Longyuan Corporation president Xie Changjun and was witnessed by South African Minister of Energy Dipuo Peters and Chinese Energy Minister Zhang Guobao.
The new partnership, which was finalised during the Cape Town summit involving more than 60 delegates from ten Chinese companies and South African government and business leaders, has a strong broad-based black economic-empowerment element.
Communities in the immediate vicinity of the company’s wind farms will have trust-held shares of between 10% and 15% in the projects. The Chinese have pledged to fund the communities’ shareholdings in the projects in the form of soft loans.
MRE director Johnny Cullum said the formal shareholder agreement between Longyuan and Mulilo cemented an already strong relationship and was in preparation for the national bidding process that would start next year for the provision of wind power in South Africa.
“We can demonstrate a strong state of preparedness to tackle the projects and we believe this is a powerful motivation for government in the bidding process,” he said.
In addition, the projects on which the alliance intended bidding would be fully funded by the Chinese. “Once we get the green light, we can produce energy within 12 months.”
The alliance also represented the first real investment in South Africa by a State-owned Chinese energy corporation, and showed a sincere commitment by China to support initia- tives in this country.
The target for sustainable wind energy by 2019 is 4 500 MW, which will approach 10% of South Africa’s power needs.
“Our partners are able to provide the infra- structure for this target. Longyuan and its parent company, China Guodian Corporation, are major industry players in Chinese renew- able energy, and the Chinese will be the largest renewable-energy providers in the world within the next three years,” said Cullum.