SOUTH AFRICA –  Coal mining giant, Exxaro Resources Limited, through its wholly-owned renewable energy subsidiary, Cennergi, is developing the 70MW Lephalale solar project that will supply renewable energy to the Grootegeluk Complex, the integrated coal operations owned by another subsidiary of Exxaro, Exxaro Coal (Pty) Ltd, reports Renew Africa.

“Exxaro Coal and Cennergi have concluded a term sheet setting out material terms upon which the PPA will be concluded. This is a significant strategy development milestone, which constitutes a major step towards implementing Exxaro’s decarbonization plans and progress in the Just Transition journey as well as positively contributing to its environmental, social and governance goals,” said Roland Tatnall, Exxaro’s MD for Energy.

The Grootegeluk Complex will derive long-term sustainable benefits from the Project, including the security of clean electricity supply, significant energy cost savings and a carbon footprint reduction. 

Exxaro expansion into renewable energy 

The development of the solar energy plant is in alignment with Exxaro’s renewable energy strategy. The coal giant has long-term expansion plans into renewable energy and green energy.

The company recently bought out Tata from the renewable energy company Cennergi to acquire 100% ownership of the company. 

“Our historic vision to become a renewable energy pioneer in South Africa was evident as far back as 2009, culminating in our investment in Cennergi, which was then a 50:50 joint venture with Tata Power. As a business, we take pride in our ability to provide innovative and sustainable solutions to challenges that society and our stakeholders face,” said Exxaro CEO, Mxolisi Mgojo. 

Cennergi established itself in the local renewable energy sector in 2012 and commissioned two wind projects in the Eastern Cape in 2016: Amakhala Emoyeni wind farm near Bedford (134MW) and Tsitsikamma Community wind farm (95MW).

These projects contribute 229MW of renewable energy to the national grid. Furthermore, the acquisition of Tata’s 50% interest in Cennergi resulted in Exxaro assuming 100% ownership of Cennergi effectively from April 2020.

Cennergi Services manages these assets plus a further 9 solar PV sites. 

“Through Cennergi, we not only serve an expanding renewable energy market, but we also strive to build real value for our people, the environment, economy and our shareholders,” concluded Tatnall. 

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