One of South Africa’s biggest companies is moving off Eskom’s grid

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South African Breweries (SAB) has signed a power purchase agreement with industrial-scale biogas waste-to-energy company Bio2Watt.

The renewable energy will be supplied from the Cape Dairy Biogas Plant once it reaches commercial operation, the group said in a statement on Thursday (10 March).

This is in line with holding company Anheuser-Busch InBev’s global 2025 sustainability targets for climate action – 100% of its purchased electricity will come from renewable sources and carbon emissions will be reduced by 25% across its value chain.

“We have made a global commitment to exploring renewables to reduce carbon emissions and reach 100% contracted renewable electricity by 2025,” said SAB procurement director for Africa Kyle Day.

“We also believe we have a duty to ease the pressure on the national grid. Through this partnership, we are proud to progress on both fronts as we make our way to a cleaner, greener and more self-sustainable future.”

Although the plant is still in the process of being built, it will make use of waste collected from one of South Africa’s largest dairy farms. Over 7,000 cows residing on the farm will see the plant make use of slurry manure with a mix of other wastes from the surrounding region to produce renewable electricity.

“Under this power purchase agreement and installed renewable electricity, SAB will achieve 23% contracted renewable electricity, ” says vice president of procurement and sustainability in Africa Conor Ruff.

All of SAB’s breweries in South Africa already use solar power, which we are currently expanding, and the Alrode brewery in Johannesburg is also making use of a biogas facility.

“As we accelerate our sustainability strategy, we are looking forward to collaborating with more partners in the renewable energy space,” Ruff said.

In September, SAB said it plans to make its popular Castle Lite beer using renewable energy, pointing to the most recent round of load shedding and ongoing power constraints in the country.

Between January and August 2021, the breweries have already generated over 9.7 Gwh (Gigawatt hours) of renewable electricity. The group said that this decision to integrate renewable power has also resulted in 9,443 tons of Co2 emissions reductions since the start of the year.

The ultimate goal of the project, the group said, is to purchase 100% of the business’s electricity requirements at manufacturing sites across Africa by 2025.


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