Diversified mining and renewable energy solutions company, Exxaro Resources, together with Cennergi (the company’s wholly owned subsidiary) launched the Lephalale Solar Project (LSP) yesterday, 16 November 2023, with a sod-turning ceremony. The LSP marks the start of Exxaro’s self-generation and organic growth aspiration, as part of implementing their Sustainable Growth and Impact strategy.
The project is a behind-the-meter solar PV plant of utility-scale located in the Waterberg District of South Africa’s Limpopo province and covers a 236-hectare development envelope approximately 25km west of Lephalale. The site is 2km from Marapong and around 4km from Eskom’s Matimba power station.
Construction has already commenced with the project set to be completed during the first quarter of 2025. It is a significant milestone for Exxaro in its contribution to enhanced energy security of the Grootegeluk Mine and the Lephalale community, decarbonisation of its operations, energy cost savings, and to South Africa’s energy transition journey.
Leon Groenewald, MD of Cennergy, said, “Our mission goes beyond profit; we also aim to be stewards of the environment in which we operate. We are actively engaging with the local community and during the peak of construction, we plan to employ between 300 and 400 individuals with a significant emphasis on sourcing local talent. We will contribute towards economic growth within this region.” (See our LinkedIn interview where Leon Groenewald, MD of Cennergy, discusses the magnitude of the LSP project: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:7131213949995249665
At the sod-turning event the company iterated its vision to invest in resources powering a clean world. The R1.56-billion investment will create a solar facility with an installed capacity of 68MW. Annually, this promises to generate 176GW-hours of clean energy designed to reduce emissions for 25 years from commissioning by around 26%. At a press briefing, Exxaro’s CEO Dr Nombasa Tsengwa reiterated the company’s pledge to be “part of the solution” in the country, contributing to the production of much needed electricity for the purpose of “powering better lives”. (See our LinkedIn interview with Exxaro’s CEO Dr Nombasa Tsengwa where she explains the meaning of the “Just Energy Transition” in an African context – so much a part of this journey. https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:7131224115423649793
“We aim to grow from the exceptional business we have built over the past 17 years. Together, we can ‘power possibility’ as we take advantage of the abundant renewable resources of our country – in the form of sunlight, wind and strategic minerals – and build shared prosperity and sustainable development because we know that there is a better place to be tomorrow, than where we are today,” she said.
Limpopo premier, Chupu Stanley Mathabatha remarked that the province welcomes the commitment made by Exxaro through the LSP – more specifically in terms of revenue percentage which will be contributed to the socio-economic upliftment of the local communities as part of its corporate social responsibility.
In his address he said, “We have been following the developments which have today led to this successful sod turning, from the signing of the memorandum to develop wind farms in 2009; to the bidding of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme; to Cennergi becoming a full subsidiary of Exxaro – and today we are here with you witnessing a mission fulfilled.
“This is the road we have traversed together on the lane of Private Public Partnership in a quest to drive economic growth, create sustainable socio-economic development and create much needed jobs through cleaner and greener renewable energy.”
At the press briefing, premier Mathabatha concluded, “This is our journey together. Let us make it happen to ensure we reach the destination!”