Eskom To Work With Coal Suppliers On Renewable Energy Projects

Eskom, the South African state-owned power provider, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Exxaro and Seriti Resources, its two major coal suppliers, to develop renewable energy projects at its mines.
The partnership aims to reduce Eskom’s carbon footprint and achieve net-zero emission status by 2050 by taking advantage of the cheap production cost of solar photovoltaic power generation, with Exxaro and Seriti Resources delivering over 80% of Eskom’s coal supply.
Construction of solar photovoltaic facilities at Eskom mining sites will be the project’s initial phase, with later installations capable of allowing energy storage to follow.
In a joint statement, the consortium stated that the project would provide employment and re-skilling possibilities for communities living and working near their operations and help South Africa make a just transition to a low-carbon future.
Eskom, South Africa’s top emitter of greenhouse gases, is presently transitioning away from coal and toward renewables while aiming to avoid disrupting the country’s coal sector, which employs around 90,000 people.
Mike Teke, CEO of Seriti Resources, stated that the company is committed to a just energy transition, noting that climate change and the need to decarbonize economies is a major problem and urgency for South Africa.
However, they were acutely aware that this must be done in a way that does not jeopardize our industrial foundation or the lives of South Africans who rely on businesses for employment, entrepreneurship, and assistance.
Exxaro has committed to a CO2 reduction of up to 130,000 tons per year at its Matla coal mine in the Mpumalanga Province of South Africa, while Seriti Resources has set goals to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 350,000 tons per year, which is more than half of its current emissions rate of 700,000 tons of CO2 equivalent.
Initial solar projects will start as soon as feasible, pending regulatory permissions, and will be developed off-grid or using Eskom’s existing transmission infrastructure.
The South African government is asking $5.1 million from the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union to help with the country’s energy transformation.