JUWI Renewable Energies, a leading global solar, wind and hybrid project developer, EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) and operations and maintenance company, has announced that it 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’ Programme (REI4P). The AIIM Consortium included African Clean Energy Developments as developer and Reatile as investment partner.
“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,” Richard Doyle, Managing Director, JUWI SA, said.
“The right regulation has been needed to translate this demand into actual projects for mines. The amendments to the licence-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 JUWI.
Chris Bellingham, Head of Project Development, JUWI, explained: “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, 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.”
Sumeet Ramandh, the project’s Development Manager, said JUWI initiated the Castle Wind project in 2011 and, although there were extensive delays with the government’s procurement process, it remained dedicated to transforming the site into a notable renewable energy asset for South Africa.
“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,” he said.
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 its Fairview mine.