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Mining company Anglo American signs contract with French renewable energy specialist EDF

Anglo American has reached an agreement with Electricite de France (EDF) Renewables, a global leader in renewable energy, to develop a regional renewable energy ecosystem (RREE) in South Africa. Photo: Reuters

Anglo American has reached an agreement with Electricite de France (EDF) Renewables, a global leader in renewable energy, to develop a regional renewable energy ecosystem (RREE) in South Africa. Photo: Reuters

Published Mar 22, 2022

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Anglo American has reached an agreement with Electricite de France (EDF) Renewables, a global leader in renewable energy, to develop a regional renewable energy ecosystem (RREE) in South Africa.

The ecosystem is expected to meet its operational electricity requirements in South Africa through the supply of 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030, "thereby also supporting the resilience of the local electricity supply systems and the wider decarbonisation of energy in the country," Anglo American said in a statement on Friday.

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Anglo American said the partnership is expected to bring a host of benefits to South Africa and the region, which include the implementation of 3-5 gigawatt of renewable electricity (solar and wind) and storage over the next decade.

This could increase total grid supply resilience; support the decarbonisation initiatives of governments across Southern Africa; and stimulate the development of new economic sectors, local production, and supply chains.

Anglo American chief executive Mark Cutifani said: "We are targeting carbon neutrality across our operations by 2040 and we are making good progress.

"The announcement is a further major step towards addressing our on-site energy requirements – the largest source of our operational emissions. Step by step, we are changing the very nature of mining and how our stakeholders experience our business – while supporting a Just Transition,” he said.

EDF group senior executive vice president renewable energies and chairman & CEO of EDF Renewables, Bruno Bensasson, said they were delighted with the ambitious partnership.

"We are committed to supporting industrial players by providing a low carbon competitive electricity that substitutes fossil energies and improves wider social and environmental issues".

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Anglo American said while South Africa, had an abundance of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, there was limited infrastructure to harness it.

"The RREE will draw on South Africa's natural renewable energy potential to develop a network of on-site and off-site solar and wind farms, among other opportunities, offering 24/7 renewable energy to Anglo American’s operations," it said.

Anglo American said it anticipated that several partners will provide equity financing for the RREE, in addition to the RREE attracting debt financing that is typical for high-quality energy infrastructure projects.

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South Africa has been under pressure to reduce its dependence on coal as the energy source of the country.

It has been allocated R131 billion ($8.5bn) by France, Germany, the UK, and the US, as well as the European Union to accelerate South Africa’s transition from high carbon to a low carbon economy.

The country relies on Eskom, a parastatal which uses coal-fired plants to light up the country. Eskom is struggling to meet the country's energy demands, citing that the grid was under pressure. Eskom said the country needed between 4 000 and 6 000 megawatts of additional capacity to realize a secure supply.

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Last year, in an effort to address the nation’s failing electricity supply, the government announced that it would allow private investors to build power plants with up to 100 megawatts of generating capacity, without requiring a license.

"The RREE aims to support South Africa’s decarbonisation ambitions and the country’s Just Energy Transition, creating a sustainable and inclusive future," Anglo American said.

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