Cennergi Empowers Its Communities Through Impactful Development Projects

Committed to powering a clean world with a mixed portfolio of clean energy resources, Cennergi which is 100% wholly-owned by Exxaro aspires to be the leading diversified Independent Power Producer (IPP) in Southern Africa.

Cennergi launched its operations in the South African renewable energy sector in 2012 and was awarded the bids for two wind farm projects  (i.e. Tsitsikamma Community Wind Farm and Amakhala Emoyeni Wind Farm) in the Eastern Cape by participating in the Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).

Tsitsikamma Community Wind Farm (RF) Pty Ltd (TCWF) is a company formed to develop the Tsitsikamma wind farm project. The shareholders of TCWF include Cennergi (Pty) Ltd (75%), Watt Energy (16%) and the Tsitsikamma Development Trust (9%), the latter two being BEE partners to the project.

Amakhala Emoyeni RE Project 01 (RF) Pty Ltd (AE01) is the second company formed to develop the Amakhala wind farm project. The shareholders of the AE01 include Cennergi (Pty) Ltd (95%), Cookhouse Community Trust (2.5%) and the Bedford Community Trust (2.5%), the latter two being BBBEE partners to the project. Both AE01 and TCWF started commercial operation in 2016 and sell electricity to Eskom under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for a period of 20 years.

As part of the REIPPPP bidding process, both AE01 and TCWF committed to spending 2.1% of their revenue on Socio-economic development programme (SED) and Enterprise Development programme (EnD) in communities located within 50km radius of the wind farms.  

What Amakhala and Tsitsikamma wind farm projects have achieved over the last 2 years  

Tsitsikamma Wind Farm Trust  

Tsitsikamma Wind Farm Trust (TWFT) on behalf of Tsitsikamma Community Wind Farm, has an obligation to spend some of its SED funds to local creches and schools, with a strong focus on education and skills development programmes.  

  • Pinocchio Creche in Kareedouw received R363 153 in educational materials, a jungle gym, smart TV, and other items to make a difference in the lives of young children and their education. Another creche in the Kou-Kamma Municipality, Uitkyk Creche, was revamped and upgraded in a project that cost R301 605, allowing community children to experience advanced learning in a secure environment.
  • Siyazama Creche in the Wittekleibosch community, Thornham Educare in Thornham, Loving Kids in the Kouga Municipality and Vukani Day Care in Clarkson are other examples of childcare facilities that have been supported and refurbished by the Trust. The Siyazama Creche project alone cost R1.2 million and created 15 new jobs for community members.
  • Kareedouw Primary School received new toilet facilities, security installations and new PVC pipes and connections to enhance the learning experience for 701 learners from previously disadvantaged areas of Tsitsikamma (at a project cost R1.7 million). Similarly, TWFT resolved Makukhanye Primary School’s safety and space concerns by building double classrooms and putting security measures in place. Loerieheuwel Primary in the Kouga Municipality is another school that benefitted from increased safety as well as a brand-new computer room with computers for its learners (at a project cost of R635 436).
  •    

The Trust also runs a bursary programme for deserving students. Between 2018 and 2020, the company spent R2million on helping 21 community learners to achieve their dreams in accountancy, IT, sports management, business economics and fashion.  

From a social welfare and housing development perspective, TWFT renovated 25 dilapidated houses in the Wittekleibosch Farm for elderly residents whose families were forcefully removed during the apartheid area in South Africa. These residents were the first to return to their land in 1994. Since then, no maintenance on dwellings were made until the TWFT spent nearly R8.3 million in renovations and created 20 jobs for the local community members. The wind farm was also responsible for the Snyklip community hall renovation, which totalled R3.2 million and created 29 new jobs  

From an enterprise development perspective, the Trust donated two new centre pivot irrigation machines to the Wittekleibosch Development Trust to empower emerging black dairy farmers with the equipment they need to increase milk production and further employment opportunities in the community (at a project cost of R2 million). Mankol Ventures, a local enterprise currently undertaking the alien invasive species management within the Tsitsikamma Community Wind Farm site, Fuza Fulele Catering, a local woman-owned business supplying catering services for events taking place within and around the Tsitsikamma areas, Mbombiya and Sons Tyre Centre, a newly established tyre fitment centre located in Kareedouw and Jwayi Mbombela Carpentry, are just some of enterprise development initiatives that TCWF has supported with the necessary skills, machinery, tools, and equipment to the value of R3.98 million , collectively, to enhance their business services.  

The COVID-19 pandemic affected everyone around the globe, and left a devastating mark in rural communities particularly, the previously disadvantaged. In the effort to alleviate this affect, TWFT provided food relief for 95 households in the Wittekleibos community, 137 in Synklip, 170 in the Palmietrivier Area and 402 families in the AmaMfengu community.  

These relief efforts were coupled with the donation of bar and liquid soaps to more than 3 900 households within the Tsitsikamma communities in addition to Personal Protective Equipment supplies to the value of R477 216 to support the local medical front line workers.      

Amakhala Emoyeni Community Fund Trust   

Amakhala Emoyeni Community Fund Trust (AECFT), on behalf of the Amakhala Emoyeni Wind Farm – another one of Cennergi’s wind farm companies - is similarly dedicated to education and socio-economic aid in its area. Its bursary programme has helped 14 young people across Cookhouse, Bedford, Adelaide, and Somerset East to further their studies (at a project cost of R1.2 million). It also spent R3.9 million on upgrading the ablution facilities, sewerage system and overall infrastructure of Msobomvu Primary School, providing 55 jobs and helping 632 learners in the process.  

One of the Trust’s priorities is to ensure the well-being of farm workers that reside in houses around the wind farm. The Trust set aside a further R2.5 million to renovate and improve the farmworkers’ houses in 2019, around Amakhala Emoyeni wind farm.  

From an enterprise development perspective, the Trust supported Tesana Brick manufacturing, Noganta’s Construction, Mtika General Trading, and the EC Mobi Trail.  These are just a few of the black-owned and black-youth-owned enterprises that have benefited from the enterprise development initiatives.  

Joining the fight against COVID19 which severely affected communities within which the wind farm is operating, both the AE01 minority shareholding Trusts, the Cookhouse Community Trust and the Bedford Community Trust, provided food parcels to more than 4300 needy households. Additionally, the AECFT community trust also donated PPE, safety equipment, hygiene material, two  industrial size washing machines and several Oxygen Concentrators to the three major hospitals in the two municipalities where the Amakhala Emoyeni Wind Farm is located to protect frontline workers and aid  patients.  

“At Cennergi, we do not only serve an expanding energy market, but we also strive to build real value for our people, the environment, economy and our shareholders. We’ll continue to power progress and serve the communities we operate in, doing everything we can to uplift and empower our fellow South Africans,” concluded Danie du Plessis, CEO at Cennergi.  

Disclaimer: Cennergi (Pty) Ltd is a subsidiary of Exxaro Resources Ltd.