Whirlwind in South African renewable energy market

G7 creates whirlwind in South African renewable energy market
G7 Renewable Energies (Pty) Ltd specialises in wind energy project developments. Based in Cape Town, the future hub of wind energy in South Africa, G7 currently develops projects in the Western and Northern Cape and intends to concentrate its efforts on the South African territory for the foreseeable future.
It is currently developing some of the most profitable wind power projects in the country, competing easily with some of the best sites in the world. Unlike many areas of commerce, the renewable energy industry has hardly been affected by the global financial crisis and this has allowed the company to develop rapidly.
“Even though risk capital has been rather scarce during this period, we managed to work our way through the deep, building up capacity as much as possible with as little as possible,” says Nicolas Rolland, co-founder and Director of G7.
Figures show that G7 managed to raise an impressive ten million rand from private equity investment in the middle of the economic slump in September 2009 – and substantially more recently.
A union of complementary skills 
The company was established in 2008 by inspired entrepreneurs, Nicolas Rolland and Kilian Hagemann. Rolland describes G7 as a “union of complementary skills”. Rolland’s highly technical background and practical training, coupled with Hagemann’s academic gravity has proven to be a recipe for great success.
Before setting up the company, Rolland was active in the installation and commissioning of the country’s first commercial wind farm, whilst Hagemann’s PhD thesis resulted in the first mesoscale wind map of the country. With such an impressive portfolio, it is no wonder that G7 has achieved so much in such a short space of time.
The pair are clearly passionate about what they do and it is this spirit that drives the company’s ongoing success. “There’s nothing better than working with something you’re passionate about,” says Rolland.
G7 claims that working in renewables is more of a lifestyle than a job. The company recruits people who share this ethos. In return, G7 values its hardworking workforce by placing great value on training and ongoing improvement.
Employees are continuously motivated to be pro-active and innovative. Its small team shares a commitment to growing the next generation of renewable energy technicians, reducing carbon emissions, contributing to a sustainable rural community development and creating employment.
Building a first-class reputation
G7’s clientele are currently large investment and banking institutions looking at long-term and highly profitable projects in the clean energy space, as well as utility groups looking into expanding their activities into renewable energy. Land owners and communities are also involved in the company’s projects.
The company has built up a first-class reputation with existing clients and its close partnership with international utility group Energie Baden-Wuettemberg has offered further credibility in the industry.
Its reputation is crucial to the growth of the company, since G7 acquires new business mainly through word of mouth. The delivery and building of trust with its clients is at the forefront of its priorities.
“Building up relationships with land owners takes time; you need to know exactly who you are dealing with and understand their specific needs and concerns,” explains Rolland.
The Future of G7
Having achieved so much within such a short time frame, G7 shows no sign of slowing down. “We love what we do and this is our main driver! We are here to stay, to create and build a sustainable energy future for South Africa,” says Rolland.
Rolland is optimistic about the company’s future development. He says: “Renewable energy is probably one of the most exciting industries to be working in right now because it is growing rapidly and will keep the pace for years to come”.
Among its short-term goals, G7 is aiming to gain direct equity investment in its own developed projects, an extension of its portfolio of projects or acquisitions of other projects.
In five years time, the company is looking to have doubled in size as it continues to work at building up the next South African generation of wind technicians and engineers.