Eskom’s largest coal suppliers Exxaro and Seriti Resources have agreed to invest in renewable energy projects at Eskom operations, marking progress in the race to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the production and generation of electricity. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)
Eskom’s largest coal suppliers Exxaro and Seriti Resources have agreed to invest in renewable energy projects at Eskom operations, marking progress in the race to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the production and generation of electricity. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Exxaro, Seriti Resources in agreement to invest in renewable energy projects at their Eskom operation sites

By Dineo Faku Time of article published Oct 26, 2021

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ESKOM’S largest coal suppliers Exxaro and Seriti Resources have agreed to invest in renewable energy projects at Eskom operations, marking progress in the race to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the production and generation of electricity.

The parties said the first phase of the envisaged project pipeline was expected to see the construction of a number of solar photovoltaic facilities both on-mine and at Eskom sites.

They said these might be behind-the-meter solutions, that was, off-grid or wheeled solutions, or combinations of the two.

The parties said they had signed a memorandum of agreement in line with enabling a just energy transition in South Africa by participating in these renewable energy projects at the mines and related Eskom sites, with the aim of creating employment and re-skilling opportunities for communities in South Africa.

Under the memorandum of understanding, Exxaro aims to achieve a reduction in Scope 2 carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of up to 130 000 tons a year at its Matla coal mine in Mpumalanga, which represents a saving of 70 percent of the greenhouse gases with Matla at full production. Seriti envisages achieving a reduction in Scope 2 CO2 emissions of up to 350 000 tons a year, around half of its current emissions of 700 000 tons of CO 2 equivalent through the consumption of coal-fired electricity generation.

The parties acknowledged the projects by each of them should be implemented as soon as possible and Eskom will assist where necessary.

Eskom, South Africa’s largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions, agreed to support Exxaro and Seriti in their implementation of sustainable renewable energy solutions contained in the memorandum of agreement signed by the parties.

Eskom chief executive André de Ruyter said Eskom continued to explore means to lower the cost of coal supplied to its power stations, and this investment allowed it to take advantage of the low cost of photovoltaic power.

“This is one of the many initiatives Eskom has embarked on to achieve NetZero status by 2050,” De Ruyter said.

Exxaro, acting under the auspices of its subsidiary Cennergi Holdings, and Seriti, under its newly formed subsidiary Seriti Green, said they will investigate and propose suitable renewable energy solutions and projects at their respective mines and related Eskom sites in consultation with Eskom.

Exxaro chief executive Mxolisi Mgojo said this was a significant landmark development in South Africa’s energy transition to a low carbon economy for three of South Africa’s largest players in the mining and energy sectors.

“The investment in decarbonising our mining operations is a systematic and responsible approach to the energy transition without introducing risk to the country’s electricity generation. The collaboration among Exxaro, Seriti and Eskom is exemplary of the possibilities achievable through co-operative and constructive relations between business and government in securing livelihoods and a future for South Africa,” Mgojo said.

The parties acknowledge that the projects by each of them should be implemented as soon as possible and Eskom will use all reasonable endeavours to assist them to do so.

Seriti chief executive Mike Teke said the company recognised that climate change and the need to decarbonise economies was a significant challenge and imperative for South Africa.

“At the same time, we are very conscious this needs to be done in such a way that does not destroy our industrial base, or the lives of South Africans who rely on our companies for jobs, enterprise and support: this is the very basis of a just transition. As a company we are fully committed to decarbonisation and a just transition, and in working with our partners – in business, government, labour and communities – in achieving this,” Teke said.

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