IPP Red Rocket bolstered by $160m investment funds in a bid to address SA’s energy crisis

Red Rocket’s turbines at Roggeveld Wind Farm in the Western Cape. Picture: Supplied.

Red Rocket’s turbines at Roggeveld Wind Farm in the Western Cape. Picture: Supplied.

Published Oct 1, 2023


Johannesburg - Independent power producer Red Rocket is propelling its mission for a cleaner, sustainable energy future for Africa to unprecedented heights. This week, the IPP celebrated a significant milestone and received new capital injection of $160 million (more than R3 billion) from Bill Kilgore Investments, and an international consortium of seasoned clean energy investors, Evolution II and III Funds, STOA, an impact energy and infrastructure fund dedicated to emerging markets and FMO, the Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank. The funds will be used to build more solar and wind farms in South Africa in a bid to address the energy crisis.

Red Rocket CEO Matteo Brambilla said through this historic alliance, the company will continue their successful collaboration with Inspired Evolution and welcome new co-investment partners, FMO and STOA.

“Red Rocket has been at the forefront of championing sustainable energy solutions, having achieved a series of remarkable milestones that underscore its unwavering commitment to clean energy. From its pioneering development, construction, and ownership of one of South Africa’s first PV projects (75 megawatts, Kathu), inking a groundbreaking land agreement with Eskom, and winning the lion’s share in an unprecedented win under the Round 6 auction of South Africa’s renewable energy independent power producer procurement programme (REIPPPP) with 440MW of solar projects in 2022. Now we have a lot more gunpowder to continue our work,” he said.

In February 2023, Red Rocket reached financial close on three Round 5 REIPPPP projects totalling 364MW, and more privately procured projects are expected to reach the same milestone by the end of the year.

Brambilla added that their journey continues to surge forward with its enduring partnerships as it brings much-needed renewable energy solutions to the people of Africa.

“Our new partners bring sector expertise to augment our efforts in building Red Rocket into one of Africa’s premier long-hold utility scale IPP platforms,” he said.

Managing partner at Inspired Evolution, Christopher Clarke, echoed this sentiment, re-emphasising their confidence in the senior management team and Red Rocket’s proven capabilities which continue to scale the business under fiercely contested auctions to target more than 3GW of construction and operational assets over the next three to four years.

Steven Faure, partner at Inspired Evolution, added: “We are excited about the continued investment in the company and the robustness of the business model, where our new consortium will help propel Red Rocket to even greater heights.”

FMO’s involvement in this partnership marks its largest energy equity deal in history, underscoring the magnitude of Red Rocket’s mission and growth potential.

Michael Jongeneel, CEO of FMO, said: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with Red Rocket and support the development of clean energy projects across the African continent. Red Rocket’s mission to harness the power of nature’s technologies – sun, water, wind, and earth – aligns with our vision to create a greener, more inclusive, and resilient world.”

STOA CEO Marie-Laure Mazaud shared her conviction in backing Red Rocket, saying: “We are proud to be part of Red Rocket’s project alongside Inspired Evolution and FMO. We are convinced that renewable energy is key for a sustainable growth and future and will be highly beneficial to South Africa. My recent visit to the Red Rocket mothership has reinforced my confidence in this dynamic and enthusiastic team. We are delighted to develop this new partnership in South Africa, where STOA already supports a fibre network project, and are excited to be part of this entrepreneurial journey, which echoes STOA’s ambition to help build the African economies of tomorrow in the interest of next generations.”

Brambilla said the transformative alliance signifies a pivotal moment in the energy industry.

“It not only reaffirms Red Rocket’s dedication to advancing clean energy solutions, but also positions the company as an influential force on the African continent, poised for sustainable, prosperous, and impactful future endeavours,” he said.

Brambilla added that the aim is to make South Africa greener and to create jobs.

“We share a common goal. There is a huge gap in SA in terms of supply and demand. SA is also very attractive to international investors and institutions who agree that the country provides the room and space to create these large plants and to make a tangible difference in the lives of South Africans,” he said.

The Saturday Star