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Coega welcomes SONA’s focus on energy as it’s a shared priority

Home Business Management Facilities Management Coega welcomes SONA’s focus on energy as it's a shared priority

DURING President Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), he outlined numerous plans to help manage socioeconomic challenges associated with rampant crime, high unemployment, and of course, loadshedding. Coega and its partners are fully committed to working with Government and supporting other parties to respond to these challenges. Moreover, the organisation is especially pleased and encouraged by a clear policy intervention in the energy sector.

The expansion of South Africa’s energy generation capacity is crucial to attracting foreign direct investment (FDI). There is a relationship between FDI and economic growth, with energy security as one of the key enablers. Therefore, Coega welcomes government’s commitment to supporting the rollout of solar energy generation and other transformational energy-related projects across the country.

Some of these projects are located in the Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and include the Mulilo Coega project, which entails the construction and operation of a 200 MW gas power station in Zone 13 as well as the 1 000 MW Coega Gas fired Power Project, which has recently commenced its Environmental Impact Assessment process and is expected to reach completion stage in 2027.

“We are encouraged by the President’s support for industries to participate in energy generation. In terms of rooftop solar, Coega has been proactive in continuing with the rollout efforts of the Coega Solar Rooftop Project (CSRP) set for the initial implementation of 4.5 MW PV systems on the rooftops of Coega SEZ buildings, where this will place the SEZ at the forefront of being a green energy hub in South Africa. This is in addition to the solar panels pilot project already providing power to the capacity of 42 kW to Coega Headquarters, in Zone 1. The CSRP is implemented to allow energy flexibility and ensure energy security for Coega tenants, especially energy-intensive users. The first phase is to pilot the solution and ensure the resolution of any potential challenges before implementing phase two. The next phase comprises the installation of Solar PV systems in more than 20 buildings.  “Following the SONA, we hope more buildings/locations in the Coega SEZ will benefit from the CSRP,” Coega says.

Moreover, a bigger view as an organisation is to develop the Coega Energy Strategy to guide future energy investments and reduce Coega’s carbon footprint, ultimately contributing to South Africa’s emissions reduction ambition and efforts to mitigate climate change, as the country charts its pathway to net-zero carbon by 2050. This is in line with the recently approved Coega Sustainability Framework, and the Government’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), a commitment to the Paris Agreement, which seeks to lower national carbon emissions. Coega also supports the President’s approach to the Just Energy Transition Investment Plan, with R1.5 trillion prioritised over the next five years for investment in renewable energy options, including green hydrogen, and supporting growth in key manufacturing sectors such as the production of electric vehicles and battery storage,” says Coega chief sustainability officer, Telly Chauke.

Together with the operational 342 MW Dedisa Peaking Power Plant, the Coega SEZ is home to two 2 MW wind turbines and seeks to grow its power generation capacity which is important to improve energy security and accelerate Coega’s drive toward energy security and sustainable development practices. Reliable and affordable energy supply is critical to drive increased industrialisation and stimulate inclusive socioeconomic growth. The Coega Energy Strategy intends to focus on additional renewable energy solutions even outside of the SEZ, specifically across the country, within the programmes that Coega implements, as well as the projects that it undertakes on the continent.

Energy industry investors

In terms of Coega’s investor profile, the SEZ is currently home to three investors in the energy sector with a combined investment value of R3.86 billion, namely:

  • Dedisa Peaking Power,
  • Seraphim Solar Cells, and
  • Seraphim Solar PV Modules.

Relating to renewable energy investments in particular, the two Seraphim projects will assist in positioning South Africa as a manufacturing hub in the renewable energy sector as there is no manufacturing capability for solar cells and only limited Solar PV Assembly in South Africa, currently.  In terms of socioeconomic impact, Seraphim Solar Cells – located in Zone 3 of the Coega SEZ – is worth an investment value of R362 million with 350 operational jobs whilst Seraphim New Energy (South African subsidiary of Seraphim and solar products manufacturer), in the 4th Quarter of 2021/22 financial year, signed a lease agreement and investment worth R227 million in a 750 MW per annum module assembly facility, set to create 279 permanent jobs.

As a preferred investment destination in Africa, and a leading SEZ on the continent, Coega acknowledges the national investment target to mobilise more than R2 trillion by 2028 and we look forward to the 5th South Africa Investment Conference. To date, Coega has 56 operational investors with a total investment value of R11.89 billion. Coega has continued a positive trajectory, focusing on key sectors, as reflected below.

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