ArcelorMittal seeks solar PPAs for 150 MW in South Africa


ArcelorMittal South Africa, a unit of Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal Holdings, has invited independent power producers (IPP) to submit project proposals for solar parks with a minimum size of 10 MW for six sites in South Africa. Interested IPPs have until Aug. 28, 2020, to express interest.

ArcelorMittal South Africa aims to introduce renewable energy into its energy mix to significantly reduce the price of electricity and ensure a stable and secure supply of electricity for its operations, said Kobus Verster, the managing director of the group's South African unit.

It is seeking to sign power purchase agreements (PPAs) for six operational sites in Vanderbijlpark, Newcastle, Vereeniging, Pretoria, Thabazimbi and Saldanha. “The power plants in Vanderbijlpark will have a capacity of 10 MW and 100 MW, while the other sites will each have a 10 MW power plant. The land for photovoltaic power plants will be made available by ArcelorMittal South Africa,” said the group.

The selected companies will have several missions. They will need to complete all pre-feasibility and banking feasibility studies to confirm the viability of the project's financial and technical aspects. They will also conduct an environmental impact assessment and other studies required for the implementation of the project.

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IPPs will also be responsible for applying for all government and legal permits and licenses required for the installation of PV plants. In addition, they will need to find the necessary financing for the development and implementation of the project, to carry out all engineering works, supply and construction.

South African businesses are resorting to solar and renewables to reduce their dependence on Eskom. But the Covid-19 pandemic has actually helped troubled the South African utility to temporarily resolve the load-shedding challenges it faces. Recently, it warned electricity consumers that it does not expect any load shedding throughout the country’s lockdown period, due to the ongoing crisis and low energy demand.

In mid-May, South Africa-based chemicals producer Sasol began to seek partners to potentially deploy renewable energy projects by kicking off a request for information (RFI) process to secure electricity supplies for its domestic operations. “We intend procuring, in total, approximately 600 MW of renewable electricity capacity with the aim of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 1.6 million tons per annum,” said Sasol Chief Sustainability Officer Hermann Wenhold.

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