A day after it was excluded by the world’s largest investment fund over its reliance on coal, South African mining and chemicals giant Sasol – operator of what’s labelled the most polluting industrial plant on the planet – said it’s seeking 600MW of wind and solar power to help green its business.
Sasol published a request for information (RFI) to potential bidders to supply renewable energy to its South African operations, with independent power producers operating wind and solar plants the most likely candidates.
Sasol’s huge South African business includes the vast Secunda plant producing synthetic fuels through coal liquefaction that was in 2018 labelled by Greenpeace Africa as “the world’s biggest single-point source of emissions”.
The company said the RFI will play a key part in an emissions reduction strategy. “We intend procuring, in total, approximately 600MW of renewable electricity capacity with the aim of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 1.6 million tons per annum.
“This will favourably position Sasol to deliver on our commitment of reducing our South African GHG emissions by at least 10% by 2030,” said Sasol.
The RFI was issued a day after Sasol was excluded from the portfolio of the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, Norway’s $1 trillion Government Pension Fund Global, which also blacklisted Germany’s RWE for breaching stricter rules on coal-related investments.
South Africa’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) – unveiled in late 2019 , which sets the policy framework for the next 10 years – envisages 14.4GW of additional wind and 6GW of PV as renewables account for the bulk of the country’s new capacity.
However, despite being by far the most active on the continent, South Africa’s renewable energy sector has suffered stop-start tendering as a result of legal challenges and disputes with state utility Eskom.