South African coal producer Seriti Resources plans to invest 12 billion rand to build a 450MW wind farm in Mpumalanga to begin its foray into renewable energy following its proposed acquisition of Windlab Africa.

Privately held Seriti, a major coal supplier to Eskom, plans to acquire a 51% stake in wind and solar energy company Windlab Africa for 892 million rand.

Windlab Africa is currently owned by Windlab Australia and has 3.5 GW of renewable energy projects in various stages of development in South Africa and East Africa.

Peter Wen, MD of Windlab Africa, who will lead Seriti Green, the coal company’s renewable energy arm, said the 450 MW wind farm would cost R12 billion to build.

“We will focus on trying to build 450MW at Mpumalanga in the 1/2 quarter of next year right after this deal closes,” Wen told reporters.

Mpumalanga is home to most of South Africa’s coal mines and thermal power stations, employing thousands of people, and is central to plans to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy projects that will support local communities and businesses.

Coal miners, a major source of carbon dioxide emissions, have come under pressure to wind down fossil fuel production amid the global push for clean energy.

“We need to move towards a lower carbon future by investing capital from coal into green energy. It’s not only the right thing to do, but it makes good business and social sense,” Seriti CEO Mike Teke said in a statement.

Seriti produces about 50 million tonnes of thermal coal, much of which is used to fuel South Africa’s power plants. — Nelson Banya, (c) 2022 Reuters

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