SOUTH AFRICA – South Africa’s largest food manufacturer, Tiger Brands, is seeking to embark on a multi-million-rand solar project across all its manufacturing facilities, reducing its reliance on the national grid and minimise impact on the environment.
The project to be undertaken at 35 of the food processors sites across South Africa, is aimed to enable the company have 65% of its electricity requirements at a manufacturing level sourced from sustainable energy solutions by 2030.
This will be done through installation of onsite solar power solutions, procurement of Power Purchase Agreements from Independent Power Producers, as well as other renewable energy options.
Other than solar power, Tiger Brands is also exploring biogas, wind, batteries and hydrogen amongst others.
The maker of Jungle oats seeks to kick start the project at its 4 sites, between the last quarter of this year and the first quarter of 2023, which will generate 2 megawatts of power, providing at least a third of their power usage.
The first sites include the Henneman Mill in the Free State, King Foods in the North West, as well as its Beverages and HPC (Home and Personal Care) manufacturing plants in Gauteng.
“Harnessing the power of natural energy sources is first and foremost about minimising our impact on the environment and doing our part to reduce reliance and strain on the national grid so that more South Africans have access to the resource,” says Derek McKernan, Tiger Brands’ Chief Manufacturing Officer.
The JSE-listed company has also set a target of reducing its greenhouse-gas emissions by 45% by 2030 and to transition to net-zero emissions by 2050.
So far, the company has introduced several initiatives to reduce energy intensity at its manufacturing sites to maximise efficiency efforts.
Some of these optimisation initiatives include detailed site investigations to identify water and energy reduction opportunities, as well as ensuring accurate measurement and metering at the sites. This is aligned with the business’ aim to reduce its energy intensity by 30% by 2030.
“This is not a one-size-fits-all solution that we are introducing. We want to ensure that we assess the requirements of each site individually and implement initiatives and innovations that best suit each site while removing all forms of power wastage,” says McKernan.
The solar roll-out comes as an increasing number of manufacturing companies consider renewables investments to ease pressure on the load-shedding-prone grid and to improve price-path visibility.
Such investments have been facilitated by recent market reforms that initially allowed sub-100 MW projects to proceed without a licence.
That cap has since been removed entirely as part of a set of interventions to tackle load-shedding announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in July.
Even before the President’s announcement, the raising of the licensing threshold from 1 MW to 100 MW is said to have unlocked 80 distributed generation projects, representing over 6 000 MW of new capacity, highlights Engineering News.