- South Africa’s Mineral Council says the industry is working to add 3.9 GW renewable energy capacity to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050
- It will also provide much needed supplemental capacity to Eskom easier pressure on the utility
- The council wants the government to bring in measures to facilitate the mining industry’s efforts to invest in renewable energy projects
The Minerals Council South Africa said the mining industry in the country is actively making efforts to add up to 3.9 GW of renewable energy in the form of solar, wind and battery storage projects to ‘relieve pressure’ on the sole national utility Eskom and enable the industry to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
In a statement issued, the council informed the South African government that the mining industry is involved in various stages of building plants, conducting studies, planning and applications for up to 3.9 GW capacity.
Worth SAR 60 billion, this capacity can provide Eskom with ‘much-needed supplemental capacity’ since Eskom has communicated to the government that it needs to add an additional 4 GW of 6 GW of generating capacity to ensure a reliable power supply.
However, the council quickly adds that it would not completely replace Eskom’s power supply as it would continue to provide critical baseload 24/7 capacity. It does need the government to facilitate the mining industry to add its own power generation capacity by easing some conditions like reducing the time for environmental impact assessment requirements from 18 months required now.
“The measures that could be employed to speed up the mining sector’s investments in renewable energy projects include the provision of emergency tax incentives (such as a s37E income tax write off equivalent), shortening environmental authorization and Eskom related grid-tie connection processes, providing a clearer framework of wheeling on the national grid, and ensuring a shortened smart tape process,” said Minerals Council CEO Roger Baxter.
According to the council, members have increased their renewable energy projects reflecting 146% increase in electricity generation in 2020 from 1.6 GW last year, thanks mainly to the government allowing license-free concession for embedded generation of up to 100 MW.