Wind power

Taking the leader for a better future

ACCIONA_Sishen PV plant_ John Tapuch.JPG

ACCIONA Energy's activities in South Africa, together with a consortium in which the company has a majority stake installed a photovoltaic plant with a photovoltaic plant with a rated nominal capacity of 74 MW in the Northern Cape and a 138 MW wind farm in the Western Cape, contributed $295 million to the country's GDP and created over 9,500 jobs (direct, indirect and induced) between 2013 and 2015. These findings were revealed in a survey conducted by consulting firm EY.

The goal of the survey, entitled "ACCIONA Energy in South Africa: A business strategy with social value", was to calculate the socioeconomic footprint of the renewable energy facilities installed by the company in the region, in terms of its economic impact, job creation and social and environmental externalities, including community development and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Rafael Esteban, ACCIONA Energy Country Manager in SA says, “In an initial phase, whose results have just been released, the survey was replicated in two countries that are strategic for the company: South Africa and Mexico, but there are plans to expand its scope, using the same methodology, in other markets and activities with the ultimate goal of having a complete picture of ACCIONA's socioeconomic impact, broken down by country, division, business and project.”

To date, ACCIONA Energy has operated in South Africa through a consortium in which it owns 51%, in partnership with Aveng (29%), Soul City (10%) and Community Trust (10%).

Real contribution to GDP and employment

In choosing South Africa for this survey, the company demonstrates its commitment to the country, which has decided to bet on renewable energy, with the goal of producing 9% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, compared with 2% at present (mainly hydroelectric). South Africa plans to reduce its high dependency on coal (93% of its power production) and ensure universal access to energy (15% of its population does not yet have access to electricity), while reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the same time.

Using a model based on symmetrical input-output tables (a Leontief matrix, named after its creator, Nobel prize-winner Wassily Leontief), the survey concludes that the installation of those facilities in South Africa between 2013 and 2015 contributed $295 million to South Africa's GDP, mainly in 2014, when peak construction activity generated $220 million in added value.

Furthermore, $85 million was direct (i.e. created by the company itself), $76 million was indirect (within the industry) and $59 million was induced in the rest of the South African economy.

The survey also revealed that the impact on employment resulted in the creation of over 9,500 jobs between 2013 and 2015, with a peak of 7,112 in 2014. During the peak period, 37 were direct employees, 2,981 were employed by direct sub-contractors and suppliers, 2,286 were indirect, in the industry and 1,808 were induced in other sectors of the economy.

Wind power model

EY's analysis did not confine itself to assessing the actual impact of the projects carried out to-date, it also included a theoretical model to estimate the socioeconomic footprint of any future wind or photovoltaic project developed by ACCIONA Energy in the country.

The model concludes that every megawatt (MW) of standard wind power capacity that the company installs in South Africa will represent a contribution of $1.5 million to the country's GDP. The contribution is calculated considering the wind project's entire life cycle, which includes the manufacture of wind turbines, development and construction lasting 1.5 years ($877,000.00 of GDP/MW) and the operation and maintenance of the wind farm for 25 years ($625,000.00 per MW).

The findings related to employment reveal that 45 job-years are produced per MW of wind capacity that is installed.

Using other parameters, the report reveals that every dollar invested by the consortium of which the company is a member contributed $0.67 to South Africa's GDP (considering the project's useful life and using a 9% discount rate).

Photovoltaic model

Applied to the solar plant, the model concludes that every MW of photovoltaic capacity installed in the country generates $1.76 million to the GDP: 40% directly, 35% indirectly and 25% induced, again considering a life cycle similar to that of a wind farm.

With regards to employment, every MW of photovoltaic capacity entails 54 job-years: 41 during equipment manufacture, development and construction (1.5 years) and 13 during plant operation (25 years).

In the same way as in the wind model, every dollar invested by the company in a photovoltaic project represents a contribution of $0.57 to the GDP.

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Issue 39