Vodacom South Africa to Launch Pilot with Eskom to Source all its Electricity From IPP’s

  • Vodacom South Africa has announced that it will soon launch a pilot with Eskom to source all its electricity from renewable independent power producers (IPP’s).
  • It said the pilot’s success would provide Vodacom with renewable power and a blueprint for other South African corporates to replicate.
  • Vodacom’s operating situation is unique due to the complexities of having over 15,000 distributed low-voltage sites across the country with linkage to 168 municipalities.

Until now, this complexity has prevented Vodacom from accessing power purchase agreements and “wheeling” — or transferring energy over Eskom’s grid. While Vodacom would get its electricity from non-Eskom sources if the pilot is successful, the state-owned power utility would still provide transmission infrastructure and services.

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“They want to start their own green power generation for their towers, but how do they get the electricity to the towers? That is where we will come in,” Eskom CEO André De Ruyter said in a wide-ranging Sunday Times interview published on the weekend.

De Ruyter explained that although Eskom is executing a plan to rent out land on which private power producers can build renewable energy generation, this takes time that South Africa simply does not have.

Vodacom said it is in the last phase of the commercial processes to secure power purchase agreements with independent power producers. However, it cautioned that the project would not directly improve energy security at its sites.

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“This is a monumental move forward to assist Eskom and South Africa to solve the energy crisis, which proves our greatest threat to an economic recovery,” said Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub.

“It is our belief that the energy crisis in South Africa can be solved with the assistance of private sector participation and enablement — this solution does just that, and can be fast-tracked and scaled to address the shortfall of generation capacity within two years.”

“Through Vodacom’s partnership with Eskom, we will be able to meet our 2025 commitments to source 100% of our electricity from renewable sources across all our operations,” concluded Joosub.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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