South African mining industry to build 3.9GW of renewables, eases pressure on public utility Eskom

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Reddit
Email
The South African mining industry is looking to supplement its energy use through renewables and storage. Image: Pixabay

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.

The projects, worth an estimated R60 billion (US$3.77 billion), include solar, wind and battery energy storage system (BESS) projects which could provide Eskom with some of that supplemental capacity, said Roger Baxter, CEO of Minerals Council of South Africa, which represents the country’s mining industry.

Earlier this month Eskom CEO Andre De Ruyter told a South African Parliamentary Portfolio Committee that the utility needs to add an additional 4GW-6GW of capacity to conduct a reliability maintenance programme while not disrupting national electricity supply.

“There is a pressing need for the mining industry to supplement Eskom electricity supply,” said Baxter, adding that the benefits to the industry included diversifying its electrical supply and reducing exposure to high energy prices, which have increased by more than six-fold over the past decade.

The 3.9GW in question, however, “is purely supplemental and will not detract from critical baseload 24/7 capacity from Eskom,” said a Minerals Council statement.

Council members have increased renewable energy generation by 146% over its 1.6GW target from last year. “The license-free concession for embedded generation of up to 100MW was a major factor in this increase and it is probably the government’s biggest structural reform in two decades,” said Baxter.

“Renewable energy projects in the mining sector could go a long way towards easing the pressure on Eskom to the benefit of other industries and the country as a whole. These projects must be expedited through a smart tape system,” he said, adding that environmental authorisations were an impediment to greater rollout.

In a bid to decarbonise its operations, Eskom last month signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with mining companies Exxaro and Seriti Resources, which supply 80% of Eskom’s coal per year, to deploy solar PV in order to power their mines.

Read Next

September 19, 2022
Canadian Solar has announced a target of 10GWh of battery manufacturing capacity by the end of 2023, up from 2.5GWh today.
September 14, 2022
US utility-scale service provider Borrego has launched a new solar and battery storage procurement marketplace and optimisation solution called Anza.
September 6, 2022
Greater standardisation of renewable energy projects will be critical to reaching net zero by 2050, according to a joint report by Princeton University and engineering company Worley.
September 5, 2022
PV Tech sat down with Claire Gardner, marketing manager at inverter specialist Solis, to discuss the potential growth of European markets, the rising interest in energy storage and the importance of accurate energy data.
September 2, 2022
US residential solar installer Sunnova has applied to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to develop a “first-of-its-kind” solar and storage focused “micro-utility” in the state.
August 29, 2022
Australia will need 1.9TW of solar PV in order to reach net zero by 2050, according to the report 'Net Zero Australia'.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
September 27, 2022
15:30 AEST (UTC +10)
Solar Media Events
October 4, 2022
New York, USA
On-Demand Webinars, Solar Media Events
October 11, 2022
Virtual event
Upcoming Webinars
October 18, 2022
10am (EDT) / 4pm (CEST)