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Juwi Talking to Companies for Renewable Ventures in South Africa

Juwi Holding AG, a German renewable-energy developer, is talking to companies about partnerships to develop solar and wind power projects in South Africa, which is striving to cut its reliance on coal.

Juwi is looking for businesses that have clean-energy projects ready for bidding and need help with their development, Christof van den Bruck, managing director of Juwi’s South African office, said by e-mail.

“South Africa will be a very important branch for us,” said Jochen Magerfleisch, chief operating officer of Woerrstadt-based Juwi. “The demand is very high and the resources are very good so the government has to do something to support the installation of new solar or wind plants.”

The country “could become a hub for Africa for renewable energy and I think many players are looking very closely at what South Africa is doing,” he said.

South Africa on Aug. 3 invited tenders to build 3,725 megawatts of clean power by the end of 2016 under its $15 billion renewable energy program. In December, the government named 28 preferred bidders to build the first 1,416 megawatts. It closed a second round of bidding last month, receiving 79 proposals. Winners will be announced May 14.

Interest is high by foreign companies to invest in South Africa because they see the potential even though “very few” local banks are investing in renewable energy at the moment, van den Bruck said.

The country, which gets about 95 percent of its power from state-owned Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., plans to develop 17,800 megawatts of renewable energy by 2030. Eskom is the only nuclear plant operator in Africa.

One challenge in South Africa is an old infrastructure that needs a large-scale investment upgrade to accommodate all the megawatts in the pipeline, the managing director said.

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