SA’s vitality regulator on Thursday licensed a vitality generation licence for a astronomical solar plant at Gold Fields’ South Deep mine, a long-awaited breakthrough for miners desperate to curb their reliance on ill vitality utility Eskom.
Mining companies said purple tape has averted them from generating their maintain vitality for years and they’ve lobbied the authorities for rule adjustments.
Africa’s most industrialised nation frequently experiences vitality outages that protect abet economic growth and relish into corporate profits.
Since coming to vitality in February 2018, President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised to toughen “self-generation” as piece of measures to reform the electrical energy provide industry and repair voice-owned Eskom, however critics hang accused him of transferring too slowly.
The National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) said the total vitality generated by the solar plant would be consumed by the South Deep mine.
Gold Fields chief govt Slice Holland said the licence approval despatched a “certain message to mining companies and their investors, potentially leading to decisions being taken to withhold and develop mining operations in the country, particularly in deep-stage, underground, marginal mines”.
The miner submitted its first application for a licence for a solar plant at South Deep in 2017, however Nersa said it was once not compliant with regulations at the time.
Gold Fields submitted a compliant application in June 2020 after the authorities eased principles for self-generation initiatives, Nersa said.
Nersa’s performing chief govt mute has to authorise the licence, which Gold Fields hopes have to mute happen within two weeks. The corporate said the solar plant has the aptitude to provide round 20% of South Deep’s moderate electrical energy consumption.
Energy consultant Chris Yelland said the plant would possibly perhaps be the first of its variety in a mining environment. It would perhaps perhaps supplement the mine’s vitality wants in its attach apart of performing as a standby for the duration of outages and its approval was once “a vital step” towards reforming the electrical energy provide industry, he said.
Yelland estimated astronomical vitality customers would perhaps well elevate online as necessary as 5,000MW of their maintain generating capacity over two years with the staunch regulations in space.