Sasol opens bids for clean energy producers to supply its plants


Sasol, one of the country's biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, has invited bids from independent power producers for the supply of renewable energy to its local operations in a move to reduce emissions.

The petrochemicals company, which operates mega facilities in Sasolburg and Secunda, where it converts coal into fuel and chemicals, said it had its sights on wind and solar energy producers with a generation capacity of at least 20 MW.

Secunda alone reportedly emits over 56 million tons of greenhouse gases a year - more than the individual totals of over 100 countries.

"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 Chief Sustainability Officer, Hermann Wenhold.

He added that the process would enable Sasol to deliver on its promise to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 10% by 2030. He was referring a commitment by the company in a Climate Change Report released in 2019, where Sasol said it would reduce its absolute greenhouse gas emissions from SA operations by at least 10%, coming off a 2017 baseline.

"The company has identified renewable energy as a key lever for reducing its GHG emissions and moving it towards producing products in a more sustainable manner," said Wenhold.

The Climate Change Report acknowledged that the company's coal-intensive Secunda operations, and its significant role in the company's greenhouse emission footprint, shaped its climate change management response. 

It added that improvements in the Secunda emissions profile would require the introduction of lower or low-carbon energy sources, such as natural gas or renewable energy.

A government-imposed Carbon Tax Act came into effect on 1 June 2019. Its first phase runs from 2019 to 2022. The bill, which is with aligned with South Africa’s commitment to the Paris Agreement, set the tax at R120 per ton of carbon dioxide.

In its inaugural Climate Change Report, Sasol put its liability at an estimated R800 million to R1 billion in 2020, escalating at consumer price index plus 2 percentage points until 2022.

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