The Green Green Fields of Grass Valley

Joubert Roux, the co-founder of Zero Carbon Charge, had a vision of a network of clean energy EV charging stations stretching across rural South Africa. These charging stations would be 150km apart and would be associated with roadside attractions such as farmstalls, restaurants, and accommodation. Joubert soon realized that rural South Africa is vast and some of the Charging Stations would have to be erected from scratch: so-called Greenfield sites aka undeveloped sites.

It’s coincidental that the first Green Field site in this series of articles is called Grass Valley. Grass Valley is a game farm on the N1 immediately north of the Zebetiela Toll Plaza on the eastern side of the highway. The closest town is Mokopane/Potgietersrus. Grass Valley is owned by Richard Mooa a Johannesburg-based businessman . “There’s nothing there except wildlife. It’s my getaway place. My fun place,” laughs Richard “Work is hectic. There comes a point where you have to take a time-out because you’ll either go crazy … or find yourself divorced.”

Richard grew up east of Polokwane about 85 km from Grass Valley, so he regards it as a return to his roots. “After school I went to work for DHL. After 10 years I transitioned to GlobeFlight”. And that’s where he’s been 1998, steadily working his way up the corporate ladder.

Grass Valley isn’t Richard’s first venture into farming. “I have a stake in Wildepaardejacht wine farm in Paarl” he says matter-of-factly “and a stock and crop farm.”  He has no specific plans to develop Grass Valley … yet. Initially it will only be the Charging Station.

“But I am very keen to exchange ideas with Joubert and his team regarding the establishment of a rest stop for EV drivers,” he says, “there is no harm in trying – this is a wonderful opportunity to diversify my business.”

Welcome to the Zero Carbon Charge tribe, Richard. We look forward to reporting on developments at Grass Valley.