South African coal producer Seriti Resources plans to invest R12-billion in building a 450MW wind farm in Mpumalanga to kickstart a foray into renewable energy following its proposed acquisition of Windlab Africa.
Privately owned Seriti, a major coal supplier to Eskom, plans to buy a 51% stake in Windlab Africa’s wind and solar energy assets for R892-million.
Windlab Africa is currently owned by Australia’s Windlab and has 3.5GW of renewable energy projects at different stages of development in South Africa and East Africa.
Peter Venn, the Windlab Africa MD who will head Seriti Green, the coal miner’s renewable energy unit, said the 450MW wind farm would cost R12-billion to build.
“We will be focusing on trying to build out 450MW in Mpumalanga in Q1/Q2 next year, immediately post closure of this transaction,” Venn told reporters.
Mpumalanga hosts most of South Africa’s coal mines and thermal power plants that employ thousands and is central to plans to replace the fossil fuel with renewable energy projects that will sustain local communities and businesses.
Miners of coal, a major source of carbon emissions, have come under pressure to wind down production of the fossil fuel amid a global push towards clean sources of energy.
“We need to be moving towards a lower carbon future through investing capital from coal into green energy. It is not only the right thing to do, but it makes business and societal sense,” Seriti CEO Mike Teke said in a statement.
Seriti produces about 50 million tonnes of thermal coal, the bulk of which is used to fire South Africa’s power stations. — Nelson Banya, (c) 2022 Reuters