Nedbank Group wants to almost double its lending to green energy projects in South Africa over the next two years as it seeks to cement its position as a market leader in funding renewable power projects.
The bank’s lending towards government’s Renewable Independent Power Producer Programme — aimed at boosting privately generated electricity in South Africa — may jump to about R50-billion in the “short to medium term” from R29-billion, said CEO Mike Brown.
“We would certainly have appetite for it to go higher if client demand is more than that,” Brown said in an interview on Friday. “We need masses of new energy.”
Demand for funding renewable power projects is likely to surge after President Cyril Ramaphosa unshackled the private sector in a bid to end an energy crisis that’s been holding back the economy. Government scrapped a 100MW limit on private power generation, allowing companies to produce electricity without a licence to meet their own needs and sell to the grid.
The state also doubled renewable energy procurement to 5.2GW under the so-called Bid Window 6 tender to help accelerate the country transition from a dependence on coal for more than 80% of its power, toward greener energy sources. Authorities are rushing to avoid a repeat of recent blackouts — Eskom cut enough electricity to light up four million South African homes — that riled residents.
Nedbank has been a market leader in previous rounds of the auctions, said Brown. About 10% of Nedbank’s R1-trillion balance sheet has been advanced to projects that meet United Nations sustainable development goals, he said.
“We absolutely think that working with advising and financing our clients as they change their energy mix and that of the countries they operate in over the next 10-20 years is a massive opportunity for us and one that we absolutely aim to continue to lead in,” Brown said. — (c) 2022 Bloomberg LP