Home News Sappi signs landmark renewable energy agreement in Northern Cape

Sappi signs landmark renewable energy agreement in Northern Cape

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Sappi has concluded a milestone 175GWh per annum renewable energy power purchase agreement with Enpower Trading, a Nersa-licensed private electricity trading company.

File picture: SolarAfrica Energy

IN A SIGNIFICANT move towards sustainable energy, Sappi Southern Africa has signed a landmark power purchase agreement (PPA) with Enpower Trading, a Nersa-licensed private electricity trading company. The milestone agreement, which is for a substantial 175GWh per annum, will see Sappi significantly reduce its carbon footprint.

The power supplied to Sappi will be sourced from one of the largest solar farms in South Africa, the 1GW Sun Central PV project, executed by SolarAfrica Energy. The project is located south-east of De Aar in the Northern Cape, putting the Province in the spotlight once again for its contribution to renewable energy.

The agreement, signed in April, will commence power supply from the end of December 2025. It marks a first-of-its-kind PPA where Enpower Trading will supply Sappi with a utility-scale renewable power solution over a five-year period.

This also sets the stage for an evolving strategic partnership between Sappi and the trading company.

The implementation of this renewable energy solution across its various South African facilities is projected to decrease Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions for both Sappi SA and Sappi Limited by 6% and 4% respectively.

As a leading global provider of everyday materials made from woodfibre-based renewable resources, Sappi is committed to building a more circular economy by making superior alternatives that replace fossil-based products. This agreement enables Sappi to demonstrate leadership in sustainable business practices, reducing its reliance on fossil fuels and ensuring cost-effectiveness.

James Beatty, the CEO of Enpower, with Alex Thiel, the CEO of Sappi SA. Picture: Supplied

Alex Thiel, CEO of Sappi Southern Africa, expressed his enthusiasm about the partnership, stating, “This agreement underscores our commitment to increase our share of renewable and clean energy alternatives and moves us closer to reaching our regional and global targets. This makes a significant impact in reducing our carbon footprint and reaffirms our support for SDG7: Clean Energy.

“We are pleased to be working with like-minded, sustainable partners in pursuing these goals.”

Enpower Trading also sees this as a crucial step towards its goal of transforming the South African electricity supply industry by providing cleaner and more affordable power.

James Beatty, CEO of Enpower Trading, said, “Enpower is delighted to reach this critical milestone with Sappi and looks forward to growing our relationship.”

“We seek to support Sappi in achieving its decarbonisation objectives. Moreover, Enpower believes the execution of this ground-breaking PPA provides a template solution that, when delivered at scale, presents a key to solving the load shedding crisis faced by South Africa.”

The project will enhance the diversification of energy supply as South Africa moves towards a more competitive energy market.

Sappi said that although the integration of renewable energy into its manufacturing processes and operations will require adjustments within its production plants, metering and billing systems, both “Sappi and Enpower Trading are committed to overcoming the anticipated challenges through careful planning and collaboration, leveraging innovative solutions to navigate this transition smoothly”.

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