JUWI Renewable Energies, and South African mid-tier gold producer, Pan Africa Resources (PAR), recently announced that the 10 megawatt (MW) Elikhulu solar renewable energy plant developed by JUWI for PAR’s Evander gold operations has received full grid code compliance from Eskom.
The project became the first embedded generation project over 1 MW to do so.
The achievement follows the decision by the South African government in 2021 to raise the licensing threshold for embedded generation projects from 1 MW to 100 MW. The government’s decision aimed at alleviating the energy crisis by unlocking private generation capacity.
In order to attain grid compliance, projects need to demonstrate full compliance with the Renewable Power Plants Grid Connection Code.
“We’re delighted that Elikhulu is the first behind-the-client metre large-scale project to get the stamp of approval from Eskom, which confirms that the project adhered to very rigorous grid connection standards,” says Richard Doyle, Managing Director, JUWI.
“As the trailblazer leading the rollout of private generation by major energy users, Elikhulu will unlock significant new generation capacity and reduce pressure on the national grid, which contributes to fewer instances of loadshedding,” adds Doyle.
“For Pan African Resources, mining is also about sustainability and going ‘beyond compliance’, which means that we are committed to rolling out renewable energy solutions at all our operations in South Africa,” says Barry Naicker, head of ESG at PAR. “We’re grateful that the Elikhulu PV plant is online and operating efficiently, and pleased that it is the first project of its kind to be connected to the South African grid. This represents a major turning point in the country’s transition to clean energy.”
When the Elikhulu plant was Initiated by PAR, the licensing threshold was 10 MW. With the further increase of the licensing threshold to 100 MW, the mining company plans to expand the plant’s output to 22 MW in 2023 to further reduce GHG emissions and improve efficiencies which will reduce the cost of gold production.
JUWI currently has hundreds of megawatts of similar utility scale projects in various stages of development for private energy users and mining companies.