The ongoing Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPPP) programme is attracting attention from the social sciences. The programme’s mandated community development investment challenges industry practice in project development and implementation. Increasingly, academic attention grows in support of industry, civil society and government, to maximise the investment’s developmental contribution. The Energy Research Centre (ERC) at the University of Cape Town (UCT) hosted a networking seminar for researchers working on this topic on the 21 st April 2016.
The 23 participants were drawn from five South African universities; the University of the Free State, Wits University, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Stellenbosch University and UCT. Other organisations represented included the Human Sciences Research Council, the Community Development Resource Association and private renewable energy companies.
ERC doctoral researcher, Holle Wlokas presented the early findings of her research which investigates the institutional structures established in the implementation of the community renewables projects through the REIPPPP. Holle is analysing the REIPPPP policy and bids as well as studying stakeholder experiences in 13 case study projects across three provinces. This networking event allowed her to discuss emerging findings with practitioners and academics and to facilitate the growth of an interdisciplinary network on these issues.
Each researcher present also gave a brief introduction of their work. The facilitators mapped research projects, capacity and interests on a digital map of the country. The participants agreed to continue the conversation, explore concrete collaboration opportunities and meet again in a few months. Overall, the seminar created collaborative spirit to this recent research community.
Our thanks go the Volkswagen Foundation for funding this event through the CliMiP project.