Mining renewable energy for business and economic stability

Mining renewable energy for business and economic stability

Windlab did them modelling of the wind resource at the site which eventually became West Coast One, a 94MW windfarm on the West Coast of South Africa. Image: Windlab

Seriti Resources has concluded its 100% acquisition stake in renewable energy development company Windlab South Africa, through its subsidiary Seriti Green.

This acquisition is in support of the coal company’s objective to lower its carbon footprint. It is also trying to build its profile as a diversified energy producer. As coal producer Seriti has to develop ways to manage a transition to a low-carbon economy. The acquisition also comes at a time when South Africa’s government is calling for further investment into green energy sources.

Seriti Green CEO Peter Venn said COP27 has seen a recommitment to climate warming targets. It also for the first time indicating the commitment to financial support for adaptation and transition in developing economies. “These events provide even more impetus for the development of the renewables sector in South Africa and elsewhere in Africa. Seriti Green is well-positioned and able to play a constructive and growing role in bringing responsible and impactful renewable energy projects to fruition, especially in South Africa’s energy heartland of Mpumalanga.”

This acquisition follows the August 2022 announcement of the binding transaction agreements to acquire a majority interest in Windlab’s businesses in South and East Africa. Windlab Africa is 100% of Windlab South Africa and 75% of Windlab East Arica. The conclusion of the Windlab East Africa portion of the transaction is subject to anti-trust approval from the Tanzanian authorities.

Renewable energy to decarbonise SA’s energy grid

Mike Teke, Seriti CEO said: “The finalisation of the South African leg of this transaction is a significant milestone for Seriti Green, enabling us to facilitate the decarbonisation of South Africa’s energy grid, provide diversification within our business and support the new chapter of a just energy transition. We are looking forward to a favourable outcome on the East Africa leg, after which our full acquisition of Windlab Africa will be complete.””

Between South Africa’s NDC requirements and Eskom’s challenges in providing a reliable and stable electricity source, mining houses across South Africa are investigating ways to decrease their carbon footprints, stabilise their electricity supply and change their energy profiles.

Including renewable energy into Seriti’s existing profile of coal assets offers long-term financial stability and diversification. It also provides a solution to their own power needs and an opportunity to secure South Africa’s power needs.

Seriti uses around 750GWh of electricity as it mines the very coal used to fuel the country’s power stations. In line with the commitments made in a MoU signed in October 2021 with Eskom and Exxaro (the two companies provide around 80% of Eskom’s coal supplies in a given year) the two entities would start using renewable wind and solar energies at their Eskom-tied operations and related Eskom sites as a way for the utility to start decarbonising its entire value chain.

Building a green energy pipeline for SA’s power production

The first part of that envisaged project pipeline lies in the construction of solar PV facilities both on-mine and at Eskom sites. These may be behind-the-meter off-grid solutions or wheeled power. Further projects could include energy storage and possibly wind energy facilities.

Windlab South Africa oversees 4GW of renewable energy projects at different stages of development across the country. This acquisition gives Seriti access to a portfolio of existing renewable energy assets. These all have a high return rate, a promising project pipeline and experienced management teams.

“Our investment into renewable energy through Seriti Green demonstrates our commitment to sustainably supporting South Africa’s energy needs. We will continue to seek growth opportunities to make a meaningful contribution to reducing the country’s carbon footprint whilst supporting a just energy transition,” said Teke.

Seriti has partnered with Standard Bank, RMB and VennEnergy on the transaction.

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