Sasol targets renewables at South African plant in emissions lowering drive

Chemicals and fuels group Sasol has issued a request for information (RFI) on the prospect of potential bidders supplying its heavily polluting South African operations with 600MW of renewable energy.

The news comes just a day after the JSE-listed company was excluded from the portfolio of the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund – Norway’s US$1 trillion Government Pension Fund Global.

Sasol’s vast South African business includes the Secunda plant producing synthetic fuels through coal liquefaction, which was labelled by Greenpeace Africa in 2018 as ‘the world’s biggest single-point source of emissions’.

However, the company said the RFI will play a key part in an emissions reduction strategy. “We intend procuring, in total, approximately 600MW of renewable electricity capacity with the aim of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 1.6 million tonnes per annum,” said Sasol.

“This will favourably position Sasol to deliver on our commitment of reducing our South African GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions by at least 10% by 2030.”

Sasol’s procurement of renewable energy for its South African operations will help the company align itself with the country’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which envisages 14.4GW of additional wind and 6GW of solar PV as renewables become the primary source of new capacity during the next 10 years.

Despite being by the most active on the continent, South Africa’s renewable energy development has been hamstrung a succession of legal challenges and disputes with state utility Eskom.