MTN creates first tri-generation carbon credit plant in Africa
South African mobile operator MTN has entered into a commercial arrangement to sell its carbon credits to France’s EDF Trading. The tri-generation plant is situated at MTN’s headquarters in Johannesburg and is the first of its kind in Africa.
“It has been a long road for us, as we started in 2009. We had to convince MTN about the project, and it’s unheard of for an ICT company to produce their own power. Construction of the plant is one thing, but to sell carbon credits is another aspect,” said Willem Weber from MTN.
Promethium Carbon served as an advisor to MTN on the project, and said the implementation of the plant has the potential to reduce gasses in the atmosphere by a signficant portion.
“The telecommunications sector can directly reduce global Green House Gas (GHG) emissions by 15%, by providing virtual services. MTN has started with services such as the tri-generation plant. The plant was design by MTN to provide energy security while reducing the company’s carbon footprint. There is no other tri-generation plant in South Africa, so it’s a first for MTN,” said Promethium Carbon’s Katie Ross.
Starting with offshore natural gas from Mozambique, the gas travels done to South Africa where it is treated through several stages. It simultaneously produces electricity, heating and cooling for the entire MTN head office, while offsetting EDF Trading carbon emissions.
The energy produced through the stages are used for chilled water, hot water and a 2Mw electricity supply, while reducing MTN’s electricity demand by 50% from the grid and is 85% efficient.
The construction of the plant has also had a ripple effect across the country. “It has inspired other MTN branches to generate their own power and slot in under the global umbrella. MTN will be installing tri-generation plants at their Germiston, Centurion and Doornfontein offices as well,” Ross added.
EDF is one of the world’s leading electricity utility companies and will use the carbon credit it bought from MTN to meet its emissions target. When a potential carbon credit market opens in South Africa after 2012, it will be worth about $510-million per year.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor