JUWI Renewable Energies, a leading global solar, wind, and hybrid project developer, engineering, procurement & construction (EPC) and operations and maintenance company, recently announced that it now has 400 MW of EPC projects in advanced stages of development for mines in South Africa.
The news follows the financial close of the 89 MW Castle Wind project by the African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM) Consortium for Sibanye-Stillwater’s mining operations, a project initially developed by JUWI for the South African government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers’ Program (REI4P) ). The AIIM Consortium included African Clean Energy Developments as developer and Reatile as investment partner. An improved regulatory environment has allowed the 89 MW Castle Wind project, initially developed by JUWI for the South African Government’s REIPPP Program (REI4P), to be pivoted to remotely power Sibanye-Stillwater’s mining operations.
The 400 MW will add to South Africa’s growing share of renewables in a country where the grid is mostly powered by coal. Coal-powered plants have traditionally had well over 90% of the share in South Africa, but now both utility-scale wind and solar projects developed by the likes of JUWI, as well as large commercial & industrial (C&I) solar projects, are added. a significant amount of renewables to South Africa’s energy mix.
JUWI South Africa is part of the international JUWI. JUWI employs more than 1,200 people worldwide and is present with projects on all continents. To date, JUWI has implemented more than 1,200 wind energy plants with a capacity of more than 2,900 megawatts at around 200 locations worldwide in the wind segment. In the solar segment, there are around 2,000 PV plants with a total capacity of around 3,800 megawatts. JUWI’s operations management services wind energy and PV plants with a capacity of more than 4,100 megawatts.
“We’re seeing a wave of formal requests for renewable energy projects from South African mines, largely driven by the energy crisis, commercial considerations and decarbonisation targets,” said Richard Doyle, Managing Director, JUWI SA.
The right regulation has been needed to translate this demand into actual projects for mines. The amendments to the license-exemption threshold and ability to wheel electricity are now allowing us to pivot projects initially developed for REI4P, such as the Castle Wind project, into the private sector, making them a reality. This is a significant milestone for our team of experts who work tirelessly to advance the renewable energy transition in Africa.”
Wheeling is the act of transporting electricity from a generator to a remotely located end-user through the grid. With most large mines and energy users in South Africa lacking land for large-scale wind and solar projects, the ability to wheel electricity is essential for self-generation.
According to Chris Bellingham, Head of Project Development, JUWI, “the ability to wheel power through the network combined with the far lower electricity tariffs of solar and wind projects, incentivises mines to either remotely generate their own electricity or purchase it from remote independent power producers (IPPs), thereby sourcing generation from sites where the resource is stronger. This is a real win for mines, allowing them to save costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and when used in combination with backup technologies, avoid load shedding.”
“We initiated the Castle Wind project in 2011. Although there were extensive delays with the government’s procurement process, we remained dedicated to transforming the site into a notable renewable energy asset for South Africa,” said Sumeet Ramandh, the project’s development manager. “With the recent regulatory improvements, JUWI took the decision to sell the project to the AIIM Consortium, which secured an Eskom agreement to wheel energy from the wind farm to power Sibanye-Stillwater’s mining operations.”
“ACED is very proud to have led the Castle Project to financial close and into construction. This is the second private, wheeled wind farm in South Africa, and we extend our thanks and congratulations to all involved in the transaction – including JUWI as the original initiator of the Castle Wind Project,” said Stephnie Kot, ACED Senior Manager: Development.
AIIM, a division of Old Mutual Alternative Investments, has invested in the project through the IDEAS Managed Fund, one of South Africa’s largest domestic infrastructure equity funds. We are committed to investing in state-of-the-art renewable energy assets that address South Africa’s energy crisis and deliver strong returns for our investors,” said Sechaba Selemela, Investment Principal at AIIM.
With another project developed by JUWI entering construction, the rollout of large scale renewable energy projects continues apace. At the start of the year, JUWI reported that it had 4 GW of renewable energy projects in various stages of development across Africa, with another 1 GW to be initiated in 2023. The company also recently signed an EPC agreement with Pan African Resources to construct a 8.75 MW solar plant for the latter’s Fairview Mine.
It is good to see all these projects are progressing nicely as South Africa is facing a huge electricity generation deficit due to the frequent breakdown of its old coal plants.
Garob Wind Farm, images courtesy of JUWI
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