Sedibelo Platinum Mines Limited (SPM) for, South African platinum miner has announced plans to set up a 40MW hybrid wind-solar plant and a 35MW photovoltaic park to power its operations across several sites.
The plans follows a consortium formed by German renewable energy developer Juwi and Johannesburg-based renewables developer Sturdee Energy, selected to develop the 75MW hybrid plant. The plants will be owned and operated by Sturdee and will supply power to the mining facilities via power purchase agreements.
“The parties have signed a memorandum of understanding and will now commence negotiations towards a power purchase agreement. Sturdee Energy will act as a joint developer and independent power producer in these projects,” SPM said in a statement.
Dependence on Eskom
The planned capacity is split into a 40MW wind-solar project aimed at powering two separate sites, one in Limpopo and one in the Western Cape; and a 35MW solar park to power operations of the Pilanesberg Platinum Mine, which is situated about 60km northwest of Rustenburg, in South Africa’s North West province. The first of the two projects is scheduled to start commercial operations in 2024 and the second in 2026.
“When President Ramaphosa announced that companies would be able to generate their own renewable power up to 100MW, he unleashed tremendous opportunities which are impacting positively on the environment, on business, and on the economy, while also taking pressure off the grid,” said Sedibelo chief environmental, social, and governance officer Lael Bethlehem, referring to the South African government’s recent decision of raising the threshold for distributed generation to 100 MW.
Through these provisions, renewable energy developers are exempted from applying for a license but they will be required to register with the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa). The measure is aimed to reduce dependence on its state-owned utility, Eskom, for power supply. The troubled utility, which is currently unable to meet the country’s power demand due to financial and operational issues, recently began considering renewables for its plant portfolio.