Cennergi, the renewable energy subsidiary of diversified mining company Exxaro Resources, and the Amakhala Emoyeni Community Fund Trust (AECFT, the beneficiary of ED and SED funds from the 134 MW Amakhala Emoyeni Wind Farm), in partnership with the Blue Crane Route Local Municipality did an on-site inspection of the erection of thirty (30) solar powered street lights. The battery pack streetlights aim to assist with lighting up the most vulnerable parts of Cookhouse to prevent crime and promote safety.
Roland Tatnall, Exxaro’s MD for Energy explained that the electrification of this area through solar energy highlights Exxaro’s sustainable energy values and how the mining company is addressing environmental challenges.
“Through the erection of solar powered lights, not only are we able to light up a community which was once surrounded by darkness, but we are able to do so in the most environmentally conscious way as solar power holds some of the greatest potential of all South Africa’s renewable energy sources,” adds Tatnall.
Pastor Ndudumo Mthathi, a Cookhouse resident, was highly grateful to the team involved for the improvement to the community, “At night you can’t see people until they are right in front of you.” He goes on to explain that the safety measures have been increased; previously it was easier for criminals to break into their homes at night (more so when they weren’t home) due to the darkness.
Local ward councilor Mpumelelo Steve Kwatsha explains how vital it is for the community and Cennergi to collaborate to grow the community from an economic and involvement perspective. “It has created 14 job opportunities for our people, especially the young people. We have a very high unemployment rate in our areas so projects like this assist with eradicating poverty.”
Creating sustainable solutions for our communities is key for Cennergi and ZP Energy. This project enables the two companies to drive renewable energy initiatives and decrease the electricity demand on the Eskom grid. Muhammad Khan, the owner of ZP Energy and project contractor expressed, “The thirty lights will be put up in three different streets, Ndyamarha Street, Sinyanza Street and Joe Slovo Street, lighting up different parts of Cookhouse and changing the livelihoods in 108 households. We are really happy to have worked with the local community members.” He says that out of his sixteen-man team, fourteen are from this community and people who he would work with again.
Ndyamarha, Sinyanza and Joe Slovo streets will never be the same again. These streets have now been made more secure and safe through the installation of these solar lights which are sure to brighten up parts of the community which were once left in darkness.