ACWA Power partners with rural communities

The Story

Through the economic development of communities ACWA Power is enabling people to realise dreams that were previously unattainable.

Jerome van Staaden, and the other residents of the small town of Groblershoop in the Northern Cape, only ever saw the sweltering sun as part of nature – and the harsh reality they had to face every day. They never imagined that it could be used to generate power, let alone provide employment. The Northern Cape is one of the poorest provinces in South Africa, and the little work that is available is mostly as seasonal farm labourers. Even though it was always his dream to uplift his community, Jerome was forced to leave his home and family in order to seek employment elsewhere. But, all of that changed when ACWA Power constructed the Bokpoort Solar Power Plant in Groblershoop.

Today, after undergoing apprenticeship training, Jerome is a proud Health and Safety Officer at Bokpoort, and extremely happy to be back in his community. The vast open spaces and extreme temperatures of the Northern Cape make it an ideal location for a solar power plant. Sadly, the same vast open spaces and extreme temperatures are proportionately related to how disadvantaged and impoverished the people are that live there. ACWA Power, however, has an ethos of partnering with the communities in which they work, instead of subscribing to them.

Through skills development and job creation, they are growing a very active economy in the area. In fact, due to the establishment of a second solar power plant at Danielskuil, also in the Northern Cape, ACWA power is ensuring the upliftment of the province as a whole.

Lida Adams stills clearly remembers the moment she received the call from ACWA Power to confirm that her application as the new cleaning contractor for the Bokpoort Solar Farm had been accepted. Initially employed as a cleaner herself, she beams with pride as she reflects on her new responsibility. The opportunity provides not only personal and financial growth, but enables her to employ four other local women, which she describes as a “wonderful feeling”. Over 60% of employees hail from the traditionally job scarce area and it is inspirational women like Lida Adams that serve as a reminder, especially to children, that there are no barriers to progress and that anyone can become an engineer or entrepreneur with the right mixture of effort and enthusiasm.

From an environmental perspective, Bokpoort produces clean energy that does not pollute the environment and with its unique energy storage capabilities, it is able to produce reliable energy from the sun both day and night.

In Mpumalanga, ACWA Power will be deploying unique methods to assist in meeting South Africa’s electricity demand while at the same time doing an environmental clean-up job.  In the Khanyisa IPP Project, they will burn abundantly available discard coal which currently causes pollution in the form of coal dust in the air and sulphate leaching into the groundwater. In addition, they will use recycled mine wastewater thereby cleaning up polluted water while not placing a burden on scarce local water resources. In using discard coal and mine wastewater, ACWA Power will start making productive economic use of otherwise environmentally harmful and worthless resources.

This project also has massive job creation in the pipeline, and it is anticipated that there will be a local spend of R4.5 billion in the area, of which R3 billion will be put towards preferential procurement. Acwa Power through living by their mission of economically supporting the development of countries is enabling people to realise their dreams and to accomplish more than they could ever imagine themselves doing.

Short Films

60 second character vignette

Utilising Coal In A More Sustainable Way

ACWA Power has an ethos of partnering with the communities in which they work, instead of subscribing to them. Due to the establishment of a second solar power plant at Danielskuil, also in the Northern Cape, ACWA power is ensuring the upliftment of the province and its people as a whole.

3 minute short summary

Lighting A Brighter Future For Africa

“The more remote a site is, the people who live there tend to be the most disadvantaged, underprivileged and poorer (in society),” Paddy Padmanathan, CEO and President at Acwa Power.

Through its involvement with the communities in the Northern Cape, Acwa Power has enabled people to redefine their paths and inspire more environmentally friendly thinking.

Social Media

Clean Energy For A Future SA

‘The most amazing thing about the plant is that it is clean energy,’ Bongi Mdodana, Performance Engineer at ACWA Power Bokpoort Power Plant.

Empowering Rural Women

The Bokpoort Solar Station in the Northern Cape has managed to educate people from these communities to be environmentally friendly, while also powering up local women with secure employment.

Upskilling Rural Communities

Today, through the apprenticeship training offered by Acwa Power, Jerome van Staden – a health & safety officer –  is well on his way to a prosperous and inspiring future. With a bit of hiccups from his early steps, Jerome now has secure employment and his drive pushes him to exist beyond his wildest imagination.

Attracting Investors to South Africa

South Africa’s economy is soaring hence ACWA Power’s involvement in helping to build it further. When our economy is prosperous, it also means its citizens get to benefit through job creation and skill upliftment. ACWA Power offers technical assistance to the life of the plant and that enables its existence to further uplift the communities around it.