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Sasol aims to procure renewable energy to cut emission at SA operations

Sasol says the move was part of its target of a 10% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 for its South African operations.

A file picture shows the logo of Sasol at its headquarters in Johannesburg. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Petrochemicals firm Sasol on Thursday said it wants to procure 600 megawatts of renewable energy over the next decade for its South African operations, as the firm looks to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

South Africa, the continent’s worst polluter and most advanced economy, emits millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year, much of it from coal-fired power plants that still provide most of its energy.

Climate considerations have become a greater concern for investors with Norway’s $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund the latest to ditch coal after it on Wednesday excluded some of the world’s biggest commodities firms from its portfolio for their use and production of coal, including Sasol, Glencore, and Anglo American.

Sasol says the move was not related to the fund’s decision but has been part of its target of a 10% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 for its South African operations.

The company is seeking partners to supply wind and solar power between 2021 and 2030, which would reduce Sasol’s greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 1.6 million tons per annum, Hermann Wenhold, Sasol’s chief sustainability officer, said in a statement.

The world’s top manufacturer of motor fuel from coal said the process would be undertaken in phases and would include embedded generation that would supply energy to its facilities directly and power that will be wheeled over the national grid.

Frustration at red tape throttling private power generation has slowed efforts by businesses to generate their own electricity, despite promises by President Cyril Ramaphosa to ease the regulatory burden.

A Sasol spokesman told Reuters that the company has talked with the government and expects the regulatory barriers to invest in power generation for self-use will soon be lifted.