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Renewables projects on track to meet energy requirement

2nd February 2024

     

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Platinum group metals and gold miner Sibanye-Stillwater has reached financial close and started construction works on two new renewable energy projects for its South African operations.

The projects consist of the 103 MW Witberg wind energy project, located near Matjiesfontein in the Western Cape province, and the multi-buyer 150 MW solar photovoltaic project in the Free State, the latter being developed and financed by renewable energy developer and independent power producer (IPP) SOLA Group.

The Witberg wind energy project is estimated to cost R3.4-billion and is being developed by IPP Red Rocket – a company that will fully fund the project, with Sibanye-Stillwater committing to a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA).

The Witberg wind energy project will be the largest private wind farm constructed in South Africa to date, following the 89 MW Castle wind energy project announced by Sibanye-Stillwater in May, 2023.

Construction of the Witberg wind plant started in December 2023, with commercial operation scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2025.

Sibanye-Stillwater will procure 75 MW of the SOLA Group plant’s capacity over a 10-year PPA.

The R2.8-billion SOLA Group project will be the first to sell power to multiple buyers across South Africa on flexible terms, generating renewable energy in the Free State and supplying Sibanye-Stillwater’s domestic operations through a wheeling agreement with State power utility Eskom.

Construction of the solar project started in December 2023, with commercial operation scheduled for the third quarter of 2025.

Along with Sibanye-Stillwater’s 89 MW Castle wind energy project – which is currently under development near the town of De Aar, in the Northern Cape province – the Witberg and SOLA Group plants bring the total dedicated capacity of renewable energy projects in construction for Sibanye-Stillwater, to 267 MW.

Under the terms of the 15-year PPA, the Castle Wind Farm will be funded, built and operated by a project consortium consisting of financial services provider African Infrastructure Investment Managers, through its renewable energy project development and delivery platform African Clean Energy Developments, and investment company Reatile Group.

Together with the Castle wind energy project, the two new projects fulfil 45% of the miner’s long-term renewable energy requirements in South Africa.

Additionally, these projects will enable a 15% reduction in Sibanye-Stillwater’s Scope 2 emissions, equating to about 921 000 t/y of carbon dioxide, from 2026, and will materially contribute to alleviating the South African electricity crisis.

Sibanye-Stillwater also reports that it will continue to pursue the balance of its 600 MW portfolio of renewable energy projects on its journey to carbon neutrality.

“We continue to take meaningful strides toward our target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2040,” says Sibanye-Stillwater CEO Neal Froneman.

He explains that these renewable energy projects will facilitate operational decarbonisation and aid in mitigating climate change.

Edited by Donna Slater
Features Deputy Editor and Chief Photographer

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