My computer pings with new emails from my colleagues in Boston. It’s 10:30 at night here in Cape Town, South Africa but back in Boston they’re just finishing up the work day. I’ve gotten used to the time difference by now, but sometimes it’s easy to forget the 6-hour discrepancy between BlueWave Boston and BlueWave South Africa.
Believe it or not, BlueWave has a small but mighty team based in South Africa. Today that team supports many of our U.S. development operations while also overseeing a portfolio of projects that were initially developed as part of a government-led renewable energy program in 2012.
Back then BlueWave established a presence in South Africa, in part because our CEO and South Africa native, Trevor Hardy, saw a tremendous opportunity to advance clean energy objectives in the country. With high levels of sunshine and a lot of available land, the country is well positioned to take advantage of renewables.
Initially BlueWave secured a project development pipeline of approximately 500 megawatts of projects, including numerous utility-scale projects submitted into the Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Procurement Programme (REIPPP). The REIPPP is a public-procurement program that allows Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to submit competitive bids to design, develop and operate renewable energy power plants across South Africa. This program, along with numerous other commitments by the South African government, are aimed at transitioning the country to a low carbon economy over the next decade.
In 2017, BlueWave was awarded as Preferred Bidders on two projects in the REIPPP with a combined capacity of 10MW. To date, 102 IPP projects have been procured in total with more expected to be awarded soon. The timing of construction of these awarded sites depends on the South African Government’s re-activation of the REIPPP, which has hit a few roadblocks. That said, the potential for renewable energy in South Africa remains very high, and it remains a major future growth area for BlueWave’s project development business
Today our South African team still pursues development opportunities in the country. We actively engage with private stakeholders and we continue to work with the Department of Energy to deploy projects as part of the REIPPP.
We also support our American colleagues and our project development work in the U.S., despite the time difference. As the Director of Project Finance, I work closely with my colleagues in Boston to raise capital for solar project development and construction finance and ultimately the sale of our projects to long term investors.
Like our American colleagues, BlueWave's South African team is dedicated to using clean, renewable energy to reduce carbon emissions, create jobs, and aid economic development. We firmly believe in using solar as not only a means of reducing carbon emissions and electricity costs but also as a community and economic development tool. This is the power of solar.