Eskom to jointly develop solar projects at South African coal mines

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email
Mining accounts for 6% of global green house gas emissions. Image: Dominik Vanyi via Unsplash

South African public utility Eskom has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with mining companies Exxaro and Seriti Resources to help decarbonise their operations by deploying solar PV.

Announced today (25 October), the first phase of the agreement will see the construction of off-grid and wheeled solar solutions both at the mines and at Eskom sites. Further projects to decarbonise may include battery storage or wind power, said Eskom in a company statement.

Exxaro and Seriti are the largest coal suppliers to Eskom, providing about 80% of Eskom’s coal supply per year. By establishing renewable sources of energy at their Eskom-linked sites, the companies aim to reduce emissions and save costs. They have committed to starting the projects immediately.

Solar has increasingly been recognised as an effective and cheap way to lower emissions at off-grid mining operations. The mining sector as a whole accounts for 6% of world energy demand.

The proposed projects would reduce Seriti’s emissions by 50% based on coal fired power generation, while Exxaro would reduce emissions from one of its coal mines, Matla, by up to 70%.

“Eskom continues to explore means to lower the cost of coal supplied to its power stations, and this investment allows it to advantage of the low cost of photovoltaic power,” said its CEO André de Ruyter.

The news comes after Reuters reported that Eskom, which supplies more than 90% of South Africa’s electricity, held “fruitful discussions” with Western climate envoys from the UK, US, Germany and France about how to reducing emissions from its 15 coal-fired power stations.

Both Erraxo and Seritit recognised the issues with continued coal power but said its burning was important for South Africa’s electricity generation. Company heads also referenced a just transition to defend continued coal operations.

“[Decarbonisation] needs to be done in such a way that does not destroy our industrial base, or the lives of South Africans that rely on our companies for jobs, enterprise and support: this is the very basis of a just transition,” said Mike Teke, CEO of Seriti.

Several mining companies are looking for solutions to their emissions problems. Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto is looking to deploy 6GW of solar and wind in Australia as part of a new plan to reduce its carbon emissions by 50% by 2030, and has signed power purchase agreements (PPA) with IPPs in Madagascar for its operations there.

Meanwhile, BHP has agreed to build out two solar farms to power its operations in Western Australia and mining company Centamin has enlisted German developer and EPC contractor Juwi to design, supply and build a solar-storage hybrid project at an off-grid gold mine in Egypt. 

Read Next

November 24, 2021
The South African mining industry is planning to build 3.9GW of renewable projects and storage that would see the sector make strides towards meeting its 2050 net zero target and relieve pressure on South African public utility Eskom, which has called on the industry to supplement its energy supply
October 29, 2021
South Africa’s latest renewables procurement window, the Renewable Energy IPP Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), has awarded solar independent power producers (IPPs) 1GW out of a total of 2.6GW of capacity
October 20, 2021
Mining company Rio Tinto is looking to deploy an additional 6GW of solar and wind in Australia as part of a new plan to reduce its carbon emissions by 50% by 2030.
September 20, 2021
Mining company Rio Tinto has revealed plans for a new solar project and battery energy storage system that will help to decarbonise an off-grid mine in the Australian state of Queensland.
August 24, 2021
South Africa’s latest renewables procurement window for 2.6GW of capacity has received bids from 102 potential project developers, including 63 solar projects, according to the country’s Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE).
July 26, 2021
A solar-wind-energy storage hybrid project is to power a Madagascan mine after Rio Tinto signed a power purchase agreement with independent power producer CrossBoundary Energy.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
December 1, 2021
Solar Media Events
February 1, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
February 23, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
March 23, 2022
Austin, Texas, USA
Solar Media Events
March 29, 2022
Lisbon, Portugal