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Multiple energy projects meet industry demands

ACES Renewables technical project manager Tumelo Lekalakala

TUMELO LEKALAKALA Considering the location of these projects, ACES Renewables intends to supply renewable energy to industrial, manufacturing and mining sectors

10th December 2021

By: Theresa Bhowan-Rajah

journalist

     

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Renewable-energy provider Africa Clean Energy Solutions (ACES) Renewables is developing multiple renewable-energy projects across South Africa.

“We are developing a 10 MW biomass plant, in Mpumalanga, which will provide power for the surrounding mines in the area. “We are also developing a 2.8 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) farm – with the possibility of increasing to 10 MW – in Kariega, Gqeberha, which will supply power to surrounding industrial clients,” says ACES Renewables technical project manager Tumelo Lekalakala.

He tells Engineering News that the company is finalising the offtake agreements for these projects: “On the biomass project, the bulk of the first phase, which is the completion of the grid studies, feasibility studies and the environmental impact studies, has been completed. Once the power purchase agreement has been signed and the wheeling agreements are finalised, we will begin breaking ground and putting the structures in place”.

Lekalakala adds that the company has also completed about 80% of the solar PV farm. This means that before construction of the solar PV farm can begin, offtaker agreements and financial closure requires completion.

Considering the location of these projects, ACES Renewables intends to supply renewable energy to industrial, manufacturing and mining sectors, as these sectors are large consumers of energy and the company aims to be involved in energy projects that are environment-friendly and uplift surrounding communities.

Meanwhile, the greatest challenge in developing these projects is the wheeling agreements with State-owned power utility Eskom and municipalities, says Lekalakala.

“This is a challenge that is currently out of our hands. We are waiting for the finalisation of the wheeling charges. This causes a delay, as clients are hesitant to engage in contracts with private producers without a finalised wheeling agreement stipulating exact costs.”

Meanwhile, the Covid-19 pandemic did not present any major delays to the projects, as all the preliminary studies were conducted before the pandemic, he adds.

Since the onset of the pandemic, most ACES Renewables staff members have been working from home, therefore ensuring ongoing operations.

Lekalakala notes that one of the greatest benefits of developing these projects was

that “we have formed relationships with financial institutions, different industry role players, as well as with Eskom. Additionally, some of our most meaningful relationships has been with the communities in which our projects are located.”

The company diligently adheres to its social responsibility programme, through which it provides skills development opportunities for surrounding communities and job creation by employing members of such communities.

Energy Mix Importance

ACES Renewables is involved in various renewable-energy projects, and a diverse energy mix is important because different technologies address different energy profiles, Lekalakala states. The company has also partnered with a storage technology provider that will revolutionise the energy sector.

“Biomass plants have turbines that run 24/7. This is ideal for supplying energy to mining and manufacturing sectors where there is a constant demand for energy. However, PV solar panels produce power during the day. This is ideal for commercial industries where the greatest power demand is during the day, and the demand on the load drops during the night.”

ACES Renewables,in partnership with industry leaders, financial institutions, developers and engineers, creates projects with different technologies that cater for base, intermediate and peak loads, while reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and contributing to environmental protection, he concludes.

Edited by Zandile Mavuso
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Features

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