South Africa: Earth & Wire Invests R1billion in Substation to Unlock 1500MW of Clean Energy Capacity into the National Grid

  • Independent electricity retailer, Earth & Wire, has secured land, servitudes, executed the environmental studies and received environmental approval for constructing a 1300MW, transmission sub-station close to Somerset East in the Eastern Cape.

The business is planning to start construction on this sub-station later this year, using a self-build option to ensure that the energy from the generation assets could be evacuated to their off-takers without facing delays in grid connection.

To further support the grid, Earth & Wire plans to install large battery storage solutions at its project sites. The first is a 300MW battery with 4 to 6 hours of storage, to be positioned at the 1300MW substation in the Somerset East region during 2024 to 2026.

Earth & Wire believe that, as load shedding continues to negatively impact the South African economy, the country needs innovative energy supply solutions to urgently support the national demand.

Over the last few years, the consumer-focused, renewable energy independent has actively addressed regulatory and transmission obstacles to find the solutions required to generate and deliver affordable clean electricity direct to their customers.

Earth & Wire is developing a large (growing) portfolio of clean energy generation projects with the intention of selling directly to private customers including energy intensive users, businesses and individual consumers.

The business has already developed shovel-ready projects to deliver 1500MW within the next two years. These projects should move into construction during 2022 and be operational from mid to late 2023, adding around 4300 GWh/annum into the national grid by late 2024.

Thomas Garner, E & W’s Business Development Executive says: “To their credit, Eskom has already made arrangements to ensure that Independent Power Producers (IPPs) can access and wheel across the grid, which is resulting in the first direct private off-take agreements being signed between customers and electricity suppliers.”

“As a result, the electricity will be ‘wheeled’ through the national grid infrastructure directly to their end-users.  As soon as municipalities allows wheeling Earth and Wire will start to service the consumer.”

In the meantime, Earth & Wire is continuing with their plans to develop the balance of its large-scale wind, solar and battery storage solutions across more than 365 000 ha of land assets.

In keeping with their transmission strategy, the retailer is planning to construct further transmission sub-stations and support the national grid with 400kV and 765kV grid strengthening. The immediate need is for at least another seven 400kV substations in areas of the Free-State, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape with related 400kV and 765kV overhead lines.

None of which happened by good fortune. The Earth & Wire team comprises some of the most experienced independent renewable energy practioners on the continent with decades of experience in development, generation and transmission.

The business is solely focused on overcoming the regulatory and infrastructure hurdles to provide a secure, affordable source of clean electricity for their customers.

Anyone who is interested in buying electricity from Earth & Wire is welcome to contact Thomas Garner at

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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