Anglo American, a global mining company, and EDF Renewables have announced their agreement to form a new jointly owned company, Envusa Energy, to develop a regional renewable energy ecosystem (RREE) in South Africa. EDF Renewables is an international leader in renewable energy. It has a gross installed capacity of 15.6 GW worldwide. Its development is largely driven by wind (onshore and offshore) and solar photovoltaic power. Battery storage projects have also recently started to form part of its portfolio. EDF Renewables operates mostly in Europe and North America, but is continuing to grow by moving into promising emerging regions such as Brazil, China, India, South Africa, Australia, and the Middle East. In South Africa, EDF Renewables currently operates 142 MW of wind farms and has been awarded over 800 MW in new projects in 2021.
The name Envusa is inspired by the Nguni word Vusa, which means “to awaken” or “new beginnings” in other contexts. Envusa Energy is jointly owned by Anglo American and EDF Renewables. The company will supply a blend of renewable energy, generated on Anglo American’s sites in the southern Africa region, and offsite renewable energy transmitted via the national grid through electricity wheeling arrangements. This energy portfolio approach will aggregate the energy from the geographically dispersed renewable generating assets and allocate the energy optimally to meet load demand for Anglo American’s sites in the region. Last year, the threshold for companies in South Africa to produce their own electricity without a license was increased from 1 MW to 100 MW. The new threshold was introduced to catalyze private sector investment into the electricity sector. It looks like we are starting to see some traction.
The two companies had signed a Memorandum of Understanding earlier this year to explore the ecosystem’s development, designed to meet Anglo American’s operational power requirements in South Africa and support the resilience of the local electricity supply systems and the wider decarbonization of energy in the country. The RREE is also expected to catalyze economic activity in South Africa’s renewable energy sector, supporting the country’s broader just energy transition.
Envusa Energy is launching a mature pipeline of more than 600 MW of wind and solar projects in South Africa. This will be the first step towards the development of an ecosystem that is expected to generate 3-5 GW of renewable energy by 2030. This first phase of Envusa Energy’s renewables projects is expected to be fully funded – including by attracting debt financing that is typical for high quality energy infrastructure projects – and ready for construction to begin in 2023.
Nolitha Fakude, Chair of Anglo American’s Management Board in South Africa, said: “I’m delighted to confirm our ground-breaking partnership with EDF Renewables to form Envusa Energy. This is a significant milestone in Anglo American’s global decarbonisation journey and another step forwards for South Africa’s clean energy future. We are making great strides towards our 2040 target of carbon neutral operations, while contributing to South Africa’s just energy transition through our responsible approach. We believe that the energy transition presents a fresh opportunity for South Africa and the rest of the region to build a clean and inclusive energy ecosystem that can create significant new economic opportunities. I am very encouraged by our progress – affirming Anglo American’s commitment to South Africa’s next phase of development towards a low-carbon future.”
Tristan de Drouas, CEO at EDF Renewables in South Africa, said: “We are very pleased to be part of this very innovative venture and look forward to bringing our global expertise in renewable energy infrastructure development, design and delivery to Envusa Energy. This partnership with Anglo American confirms our long-term perspectives in the country: this 600 MW first tranche of projects will be added to the almost 1 GW that EDF Renewables will be building or operating in the country by 2023 – including 420 MW of wind projects in REIPPP Bid Window 5, whose PPAs were signed with Eskom and the DMRE on 22 September 2022. Together, these projects further EDF Group’s CAP 2030 strategy, which aims to double our net renewable installed energy capacity worldwide (hydropower included) from 28 GW in 2015 to 60 GW by 2030.”
The roll-out of the RREE will also serve as a clean energy source for the production of green hydrogen for Anglo American’s nuGen™ Zero Emission Haulage Solution (ZEHS) – a planned fleet of hydrogen-powered ultra-class mine haul trucks – significantly reducing on-site diesel emissions towards a carbon neutral future while also supporting the development of South Africa’s Hydrogen Valley.
Anglo American launched the prototype of its nuGen ZEHS hydrogen-powered mine haul truck at its Mogalakwena PGMs mine in South Africa on 6 May 2022 – the world’s largest designed to operate in everyday mining conditions. Anglo American wants to decarbonize its global fleet of ultra-class mine haul trucks, of which approximately 400 are currently in operation. Anglo American say that the technologies and capabilities that it has been developing as part of the nuGenTM project with First Mode present opportunities beyond Anglo American’s haul truck fleet, including across other industries that rely on heavy duty forms of transport, such as rail.
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