Johannesburg — MINING group Exxaro was pursuing plans to generate up to 300MW of renewable energy and had already started installing the measuring equipment, a senior manager in the company said on Friday.
Mines depend on a reliable electricity supply in order to operate and expand but Eskom's supply has been constrained since January 2008, when power rationing began.
However, it seems that Exxaro also has an eye on the opportunity to sell power back into the national grid.
Thomas Garner, growth manager for energy at Exxaro, said the company was installing measuring masts at its proposed 100MW wind farm at Brand- se-baai on the Cape west coast. Measuring equipment would be installed next month at Lephalale in Limpopo, where Exxaro is planning a 200MW concentrated solar power plant .
To assess the site's suitability, measuring needs to be done over a 12- month period. Garner said Exxaro was also considering "quite a few" co- generation projects -- where electricity is produced as a by-product of the industrial process -- of which Namaqua Sands, near Saldanha Bay, was likely to come on stream first.
Exxaro is also one of the partners in the R1bn Tsitsikamma wind farm project, which is planned to produce 40MW by 2013, and signed a memorandum of understanding for th e project last year. That project is being developed with the Tsitsikamma Development Trust, Watt Energy and a group of Danish investors.
Garner said Exxaro planned to sell electricity into the national grid.
"We want to sell to the transmission system operator, which we expect will be split out of Eskom . There have been hold-ups with the policy and regulatory framework, but we expect this to be solved in due time."