The Pioneering Move: Virtual Wheeling
Vodacom has unveiled an innovative plan to join the battle against South Africa’s ever-persistent energy crisis: a virtual wheeling agreement with Eskom. This groundbreaking partnership isn’t just any deal; it claims to be a first in its league.
Vodacom sheds light on its ambitions, “In addition to boosting the national power grid’s capacity, our partnership aims to edge Vodacom towards its ambitious target: meeting 100% of its electricity demand from renewable sources by 2025.”
Driving Change through Collaboration
The tech giant’s aim doesn’t stop at personal sustainability goals. They’re also focused on aiding the nation. This agreement doesn’t just promise to “accelerate efforts to solve the nation’s energy woes” but offers Vodacom the chance to lock in Independent Power Producers (IPPs) on par with its dealings with Eskom.
Vodacom Group’s CEO, Shameel Joosub, passionately commented, “Our collaboration with Eskom isn’t just strategic, it’s transformative. This unique solution lets South Africa’s private sector actively chip in, addressing the energy hurdle stifling our economy.”
Blueprint for the Future
Their approach is not just about collaboration but setting a standard. Vodacom believes their strategy offers a “blueprint for other corporates to embrace, converging our resources towards one goal – ending load shedding.”
Describing the energy hurdle as a “business nightmare,” Vodacom has shelled out a whopping R4 billion on alternate power solutions, with R300 million last year alone spent on fuel for generators. Besides the financial strain, these challenges loom large on their green initiatives.
Reimagining Energy Distribution
Elaborating on the intricacies, Vodacom mentioned, “Traditional wheeling works on a one-on-one relation between an IPP and a buyer, using the national grid for energy transmission. While this model is globally prevalent, it’s not without its limitations for firms with intricate operations.”
Given its expansive network with over 15,000 low-voltage sites spanning 168 municipalities, Vodacom’s unique challenges kept it from tapping into IPPs’ renewable energy. But virtual wheeling emerged as their beacon.
Joosub delves into their thought process: “Our approach to Eskom was four-pronged: simplify, use tech to address old limitations, ensure a viable business case for renewable energy, and foster private sector involvement in resolving the energy conundrum.”
Adding to the discussion, Vodacom South Africa’s CEO, Sitho Mdlalose, highlighted the initial phase’s potential to shift about 30% of its power demand to renewable sources. This aligns well with their 2025 vision.
He further analogized, “It’s akin to acquiring renewable energy certificates. But the cherry on top? It directly addresses the current supply deficit and promotes renewable energy proliferation in South Africa.”