Longyuan South Africa reflects on a decade of wind energy innovation along the Belt and Road Initiative

An example of Longyuan South Africa’s dedication to sustainable energy is its investment in two wind farms in the Northern Cape Province.

An example of Longyuan South Africa’s dedication to sustainable energy is its investment in two wind farms in the Northern Cape Province.

Published Oct 20, 2023


In the heart of China’s global economic strategy lies the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), an expansive endeavour encompassing land and maritime routes. President Xi Jinping, leveraging China’s economic prowess and backing from organisations such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and Silk Road Fund, has elevated OBOR (One Belt One Road) as a pivotal foreign policy priority. This strategic initiative links Asia and Europe through the maritime route and establishes a land-based Silk Road Economic Belt from Asia to Europe.

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of China celebrated its tenth anniversary in September 2023.

BRI addresses critical economic challenges on both a domestic and global scale. It aims to alleviate regional economic disparities within China, fostering development in underprivileged regions. Moreover, while propelling advancements in Chinese technology and engineering standards. While geopolitical considerations undoubtedly contribute, the initiative's core driver remains China’s imperative to address immediate economic hurdles.

Longyuan Power, a leading wind power developer and operator, harnesses Africa’s abundant renewable energy potential. The company traverses extensive distances, harnessing the wind and spreading a wave of green development to South Africa. This vividly embodies the essence of "Belt and Road" – promoting peace, cooperation, openness, tolerance, mutual learning, shared benefits, and fostering win-win scenarios.

Longyuan South Africa Renewable (Pty) Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC) Longyuan Power Group, has been at the forefront of renewable energy development in South Africa. Established in March 17, 2011, this company has focused its efforts on the development, construction, and operation of renewable energy projects, particularly wind farms. Among its notable achievements is the completion and operation of the Longyuan De Aar Project, which represents a significant milestone in Africa's renewable energy landscape.

A prime example of Longyuan South Africa’s dedication to sustainable energy is its investment in two wind farms in the country’s Northern Cape Province. The total installed capacity of these plants, which are run under the National Energy Group Longyuan De Aar Project, is 244 500 kilowatts. The Longyuan De Aar Project, which was officially launched in October 2017, is unique because it is the first wind power project in Africa to have been independently funded, built, and run by a state-owned power generation company.

Both Chinese and South African media outlets have praised the project, hailing it as an example of BRICS energy cooperation. In addition, it has helped the Belt and Road Initiative by facilitating the export of Chinese goods, technologies, and services. The Longyuan De Aar Project’s journey started in June 2009, when negotiations and research for the South African wind power project got under way. By June 2011, significant progress had been made as a result of partnerships, which included collaboration with the China-Africa Development Fund and the South African Mulilo Renewable Energy Company.

The De Aar I and De Aar II (North) wind power projects, both located in South Africa’s Northern Cape Province, were the phase’s high point in August 2013, when Longyuan South Africa won the bids. Particular praise was given to De Aar I because it had the greatest electricity price out of all the projects chosen in that round. The grid in South Africa received a total of 244 500 kilowatts of clean energy from these plants.

The Longyuan De Aar Project's building phase was a massive project. It included a number of crucial tasks, such as building roads, setting up substations and collection lines, installing wind turbine foundations, assembling wind turbines, energising substations, conducting grid acceptance tests, and eventually beginning commercial operation on October 31, 2017.

The project’s dedication to equity and to governance that acknowledged the interests of local community members was one of its distinctive features. Because local businesses and a Black Community Fund held 40% of the project’s ownership, there was a sense of cooperation and trust among all parties.

Longyuan South Africa goes above and beyond simple contractual responsibilities by actively working with regional consulting and service companies, boosting the local economy, and fostering knowledge transfer. Throughout the construction process, the corporation placed a high priority on adhering to local laws and the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) programme of South Africa.

Longyuan South Africa showed a persistent dedication to environmental protection during the project’s construction and operation phases. This involved carrying out thorough environmental impact studies, strictly adhering to environmental standards, and putting ecological restoration plans into action. The company demonstrated its commitment to sustainable practices by actively monitoring noise levels and their effect on nearby wildlife.

The dedication of Longyuan Power to South Africa goes beyond energy production. The business actively supports the neighbourhood through a number of social welfare programs. These programs cover a variety of areas, including sports, infrastructure development, healthcare, and assistance for the aged and disabled. The efforts made by Longyuan South Africa have improved local quality of life, while also deepening friendship ties between China and South Africa. A noteworthy accomplishment in the development of renewable energy, international cooperation, and social responsibility is the Longyuan De Aar Project in South Africa. It serves as evidence of Longyuan South Africa’s commitment to local development, renewable energy, and international cooperation.

The enormous importance that China plays in commerce with Africa is highlighted by official statistics for the year 2022. 56.74 billion dollars’ worth of trade took place on a bilateral basis between China and Africa, making up a sizeable 20.1 percent of China's entire trade with the continent. China has consistently remained South Africa’s biggest commercial partner for the past 14 years. South Africa has been China's top trading partner in Africa for an astonishing 13 years running, at the same time.

A cornerstone of China’s economic and international policy, President Xi Jinping's One Belt, One Road plan was carefully crafted to solve economic disparities, excess industrial capacity, and technological innovation. As the country continues to develop and prosper, it is set to alter the dynamics of the global economy and strengthen China’s position on the international stage.

Caption: An example of Longyuan South Africa’s dedication to sustainable energy is its investment in two wind farms in the Northern Cape Province.