South African Breweries saying goodbye to Eskom

In light of the recent spell of load-shedding, South African Breweries (SAB) has announced its plans to brew from entirely renewable resources by 2025.

The company also plans to brew Castle Light — almost half of which is already produced from renewable resources — using only renewable electricity.

To reach its goals of 100% renewable energy by 2025, Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev, SAB’s holding company) will need solar power generation facilities able to produce 191MW.

SAB said that all of its breweries in South Africa use some form of solar power generation, while the Alrode brewery in Johannesburg also uses biogas to produce electricity.

Since the start of 2021, the AB InBev-owned company has generated 9.7GWh of renewable electricity, saying that it would use all options available to further reduce its load on the national power grid.

SAB has managed to reduce its CO2 emissions by 9,443 tons since the start of the year.

Colleen Duvenage, Brand Director for Castle Lite, spoke about the transition last week.

“We know how important sustainability and our environmental future is for South Africa, but sometimes, it feels like such a big task that we can’t do anything to make a difference,” she said.

“Our consumers can do their bit by choosing a beer that is not only hugely enjoyable and super refreshing, but is also reducing its load on the national power supply with its production, ensuring there is more to go around.”

SAB first announced its intentions to go off-grid in January 2020, saying it intended to buy 100% of required energy-generation equipment from South African manufacturers

Eskom announced Stage 4 load-shedding on Wednesday, which it said will revert to Stage 2 at 05:00 on Friday.

It said that Stage 2 load-shedding would then continue until 05:00 on Saturday.

During its State of the System update earlier this week, Eskom presented a forecast that showed South Africa could suffer more than 94 days of load-shedding in the coming months.

Following the presentation, Eskom had to pull load-shedding scheduled for the evening of Monday, 25 October, forward by three hours due to two generating units tripping during the day.

“Unit 1 of Kusile and Matimba Unit 5 tripped, taking 1,300MW of the grid,” Eskom said.

It added that after Monday night, load-shedding would continue on the 21:00 to 05:00 rotation previously scheduled. This was not the case.

During its State of the System update on Monday, the power utility revealed its fleet’s energy availability factor (EAF) has declined to 65% against a target of 70% EAF for the year-to-date.

Eskom acknowledged that load-shedding was damaging to the economy but said its accelerated maintenance programme had been successful, with limited load-shedding during the winter.

Now read: Explosion of private solar and wind power for South Africa

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South African Breweries saying goodbye to Eskom