Belgian independent power producer to stay put in SA despite unrest

20 July 2021 - 12:04
A Belgian independent power producer says it has no plans to exit SA despite uncertainty and unrest. File image
A Belgian independent power producer says it has no plans to exit SA despite uncertainty and unrest. File image
Image: Siphiwe Sibeko

A Belgian renewable energy company, with several projects in the pipeline, has vowed not to exit SA in the wake of unrest and uncertainty.

On Tuesday Upgrade Energy Africa, which has its headquarters in Belgium and offices in Johannesburg and Durban, said it would remain in the country “to help create and construct power supply through renewable energy projects”.

CEO Raf Vermeire, who returned to SA on Monday, said the company was undeterred by recent events.

He said despite many reports by local and overseas media that multinationals are being cautious and direct foreign investment is likely to be curtailed or withdrawn, Upgrade Energy’s view was “quite the opposite”.

“We entered the SA energy landscape in 2009 and established a subsidiary company, Upgrade Energy Africa. We have invested countless resources into the local economy. 

Our stance has always been to play the long game despite the many challenges faced by foreign investors, such as political instability
Upgrade Energy Africa CEO Raf Vermeire

“Our stance has always been to play the long game despite the many challenges faced by foreign investors, such as political instability,” Vermeire said.

Upgrade Energy Africa is an independent power producer in the field of wheeling,  whereby electricity is generated at a renewable energy facility and transported from within an electrical grid to an electrical load outside the grid boundaries.

It refers to the process of transmission of electricity through transmission lines.

“We have cemented solid relationships with many community leaders and created partnerships in the private mining sector and some municipalities. 

“We estimate the growth in the number of local job opportunities will be substantial as we draw expertise and manpower from the region in which the projects will be situated,” said Vermeire.

Upgrade Energy Africa also has a presence in Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi, Uganda and the DRC.

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