South Africa: Anglo American Goes Fully Off-Grid

All 19 of Anglo American’s South African operations are going entirely off the grid. It stated that it has secured a deal with EDF Renewables, a major renewable energy firm, to build a regional renewable energy ecosystem (RREE) that will wean Anglo’s South African facilities off the grid entirely by 2030. By 2040, the company wants to be carbon-neutral.

Anglo American has already secured 100 percent renewable power for all of its South American activities, and by 2023, the company aims to obtain 56 percent of its worldwide electricity needs from renewables.

At its recent 2021 annual results presentation, Anglo American indicated that it intends to have three solar power plants in operation in SA by 2023, with hydrogen trucks being piloted this year. De Beers also plans to be carbon-neutral across all its operations by 2030.

The agreement with EDF Renewables is targeted at reducing Anglo’s Scope 2 emissions from its present grid supply in South Africa, which is the largest single source. Scope 2 emissions are the indirect greenhouse gas emissions caused by Eskom’s energy procurement.

To decarbonise its transportation fleet, it is now creating the world’s biggest hydrogen-powered mining truck. The concept has already been tested, and a 40-truck rollout is scheduled for 2024, with solar electricity provided by a nearby solar plant.

Anglo has highlighted a number of technologies, including pumped hydro storage and CO2 sequestration, that it claims would help it get closer to its objective of carbon neutrality.

According to Anglo, the RREE will construct a network of on-site and off-site solar and wind farms based on South Africa‘s inherent renewable energy potential. This will allow it to create and transmit renewable energy to its SA businesses 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Anglo expects to fund renewable infrastructure projects with a mix of equity and loan finance, according to the company.

SA and the area are projected to gain from the EDF Renewables cooperation, which will include:

Over the next decade, 3-5GW of renewable power (solar and wind) and storage will be installed; Southern Africa will be supported in its efforts to decarbonize; and new economic sectors, local production, and supply chains will be encouraged.

The renewable energy initiative, according to Nolitha Fakude, head of Anglo American’s management board in South Africa, is also a chance to boost black economic development and local community collaborations.

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