CEO Voice: December 2020

Dear Members,
As we approach the end of 2020, it is time to reflect on the milestones achieved and efforts made to unite, promote and grow the wind energy sector in South Africa. The year started with our advocacy in full swing and the with a strong PR campaign, while we were making plans to develop our Advocacy and Lobbying Strategy. We have also taken strides to strengthen our stakeholder relations, as we have been reporting throughout the year.
The year 2020 has been a difficult one for most businesses and touched every one of us at a personal level. However, as Winston Churchill had said post World War 2, “never let a good crisis go to waste”, COVID-19 forced us to rethink the way we do business and got us to fully embrace the online environment, and I believe this is our new normal.
We took the opportunity to demonstrate the value of membership as we had to coordinate responses as a sector on different fronts, especially when operational projects were hit with curtailments and construction project had to cease operation during lockdown level 5. Furthermore we took it as an opportunity to lobby for a green economic recovery plan, which should consider renewable energy as one of the main components of the government economic stimulus package post-COVID-19.
Despite the pandemic we have managed to achieve what we had set ourselves to achieve in 2020. Below are some of our 2020 achievements:

  • Net positive membership growth with a net positive impact of SAWEA revenue and membership numbers have grown from 87 to 100.
  • Industry Events and Additional Revenue – We started a Windaba Webinar Series and the Developing Developers Series. We have managed to attract sponsorships for these online events.
  • Windaba – When it became clear that we would not be able to host a physical Windaba event, we took a decision to go fully virtual for year 2020. The virtual event was delivered successfully and exceeded profit targets
  • COVID-19 – Although it was never a part of 2020 plan, when the crisis hit SAWEA office ensured that the impact on industry was minimised by co-ordinating various activities including operational projects curtailments and getting the R4 projects to restart construction after level 5 lockdown.
  • Lobbying and Policy Advocacy – procured services of Ethicore and ensured finalisation of the Strategy and Implementation plan. Furthermore, started initiatives to strengthen stakeholder relations.
  • Public Relations – We have run a consistent and proactive PR campaign that we believe played a big role in the policy progress that happened in 2020.
  • Data Management – The data dashboard is finalised and ready to launch and the team have worked hard to try and get necessary economic impact data from IPPs and the IPPO.
  • Resourcing of SAWEA office – Two staff members employed during 2020
  • Working Groups – More administrative support was provided to Working Group which made the work of Chairpersons much easier and made WGs more effective

We have witnessed as our lobby efforts begin to pay off. As we head into end of year we can certainly look back over the past 12 months and be grateful for the progress we have seen in the policy space.  The approval of the Ministerial determinations for procurement of new generation capacity was a positive step that we have been waiting for. Now all indications are that the REIPPPP BW 5 RFP will be issued in the first quarter of 2021. This means that next year will be a positive one for the sector and will launch the growth phase of the wind sector where were are expecting annual procurement of renewable energy.
I would like to thank the SAWEA Board for their leadership and support provide to our Association, to ensure that we perform at our best. I would also like to thank the PR Team, Tina Meier and Aisling Phillips who have made sure that our PR campaign grows from strength to strength. I’d like to also thank the staff SAWEA for working tirelessly during lockdown to make sure that we deliver on the objectives that we had set ourselves at the beginning of the year. I’m also grateful for the stewardship demonstrated by Working Group Chairpersons by leading the work of the Working Groups. Last but not least, I would like to thank members of SAWEA for your continued support of the Association.
I wish you all a great festive season and a good break.
Kind Regards,
Ntombifuthi Ntuli