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Massive Renewable Energy Rollout to Boot Loadshedding

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The use of renewable energy is critical in the way forward for South Africa’s dire power situation. Mining consumes about 30% of all Eskom-generated electricity, which means that a transition towards renewable energy is crucial for the mining sector and the nation at large. The sector’s short -term plan is to add 6.5 GW of renewable energy capacity.

It has been announced that, leading global solar, wind and hybrid project developer, JUWI Renewables, has 400 MW of EPC projects in advanced stages of development for mines in South Africa.

Part of the announcement speaks to the ability to wheel electricity between a private energy generator and a private user, and how wheeling is now unlocking stagnant REI4P (government renewables procurement) projects that have been languishing as a result of grid unavailability. The ability to wheel is now allowing previous REI4P projects to be pivoted to mines and other large private energy consumers. One being the Castle Wind Project that was first initiated in 2011.

JUWI’s project development manager, Sumeet Ramandh says, “Although there were extensive delays with the government’s procurement process, we remained dedicated to transforming the site into a notable renewable energy asset for South Africa.”

Wheeling is the act of transporting electricity from a generator to a remotely located end-user through the grid. With most large mines and energy users in South Africa lacking land for large-scale wind and solar projects, the ability to wheel electricity is essential for self -generation.

According to Chris Bellingham, Head of Project Development, JUWI, “the ability to wheel power through the network combined with the far lower electricity tariffs of solar and wind projects, incentivises mines to either remotely generate their own electricity or purchase it from remote independent power producers (IPPs), thereby sourcing generation from sites where the resource is stronger. This is a real win for mines, allowing them to save costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and when used in combination with backup technologies, avoid load shedding.”

Furthermore, the company states that it has seen a wave of requests for renewable energy projects from South African mines, all largely driven by the energy crisis. This is a significant milestone for their team of experts who worked tirelessly to advance the renewable energy transition in Africa.

This is only the beginning of an extensive rollout of renewable energy projects throughout the country. The company also recently signed an EPC agreement with Pan African Resources to construct a 8.75 MW solar plant for the latter’s Fairview Mine.

This ensures, that despite the country’s dire energy crisis, the transition towards green energy solutions is gradually paving the way towards a brighter South Africa.

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