AMSA to Start 200 MW Solar Plant in Vanderbijlpark Soon

ArcelorMittal South Africa to Launch Major Solar Project at Vanderbijlpark

By the end of this year, CEO Kobus Verster of ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA) plans to start building a sizable 200 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant at the company’s Vanderbijlpark works in Gauteng. An important step in AMSA’s plan to reduce the carbon footprint of its operations and lessen its dependency on the national power grid and the state-owned energy provider, Eskom.

Potential contractors have responded to the project, which is now in the tender validation phase, with great force. The last stage before building can start formally is receiving grid connection clearances, which AMSA is awaiting word on from Eskom. Verster stated in an interview that the start date can be moved to early next year if approvals are delayed.

Werner Venter, Chief Technology Officer of AMSA, provided an overview of the comprehensive measures the organization has made, such as obtaining clearances from local and environmental authorities. “We have all necessary permits in place. “We have everything but the Eskom connection,” Venter said, highlighting the project’s readiness to proceed if the last procedural obstacle is overcome.

It is anticipated that the solar plant will produce roughly 43% of the electricity needed for the Vanderbijlpark complex and roughly 23% of the total energy required by AMSA. AMSA’s carbon footprint is expected to be greatly reduced by this switch to solar power, with an estimated annual reduction of 540,000 tons.

“There will be a significant impact on our energy expenses and reliance on Eskom,” Venter stated. He pointed out that this initiative is strategically significant not only for cutting costs but also for improving energy security and sustainability in AMSA’s operations. Verster disclosed intentions to further diversify AMSA’s energy sources in the future, in addition to the solar project. These include using on-site gas and steam for power generation and signing power purchase agreements for more sustainable energy. AMSA’s dedication to incorporating sustainable practices into its main business activities is emphasized by this more comprehensive approach.

Venter provided clarification regarding the project’s financials, stating that the cost is in line with industry standards and that the precise investment and funding arrangements would be decided upon after obtaining Eskom’s approval for the grid connection. Additionally, “we are simply organizing the financing between us and the [ArcelorMittal] group. So it will be built with our own financing between us and the group,” he explained.

Venter also emphasized the strategic benefit of AMSA’s large land holdings next to its facilities, which offer plenty of room for growing renewable energy projects that are directly related to its business activities. “Perhaps forty or fifty years ago, people were unaware of the significance of having an abundance of land at their disposal. We really value having this land now so we can grow our renewable energy sources,” he said. In order to meet AMSA’s operating needs, a 250 MW renewable generating capacity is intended to be achieved, with the 200 MW solar plant serving as the first significant step toward a more sustainable and environmentally friendly industrial footprint in South Africa.

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