SOUTH AFRICA – Seriti Resources, a major coal supplier for Eskom, has acquired a controlling stake in renewable energy company Windlab Africa for R892 million (US$54.41m).

The deal gives Seriti a 51% stake in the wind and solar power company, which is currently overseeing 3.5 GWs of renewable energy projects at different stages of development in South Africa and east Africa.

Windlab Africa consists of all of Windlab South Africa’s operations, and 75% of Windlab East Africa.

“The acquisition is a timely and strategic addition to our existing and valuable portfolio of coal assets. Our commitment to the responsible and reliable production of coal for both domestic consumption and exports remains unwavering,” Seriti CEO Mike Teke said in a statement.

“This acquisition is a significant landmark on Seriti’s journey to becoming a diversified energy business and supports our ESG [Environmental, Social, and Governance] objectives and commitment to a just energy transition.”

Seriti is partnering with Standard Bank, who will have a 14.5% stake, as well as RMB, also with 14.5%, Ntiso Investment Holdings 5% and Windlab managing director Peter Venn with 15%.

The company said the acquisition was “timely”, given the “challenges currently facing Eskom, and as a result the country as a whole”.

“The introduction of renewable energy into Seriti’s existing portfolio of high-quality coal assets will provide long-term financial stability and diversification whilst embracing alternative energy sources and helping to secure the country’s power needs,” said the company.

In October 2021 Eskom said it signed an agreement with Seriti and its other coal supplier Exxaro, that will see them use renewable energy at their operations.

Recently, Seriti said it uses 750 GWh of electricity in the process of mining the coal that is used to fuel Eskom’s power stations.

It said that in line with the commitments made in the agreement with Eskom and Exxaro, it will start using renewable wind and solar energy in its own facilities through the signing of power purchase agreements in 2023.

“We need to be moving towards a lower carbon future through investing capital from coal into green energy. It is not only the right thing to do, but it makes business and societal sense,” said Teke.

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