Coal producer Seriti Resources has started building South Africa’s largest wind farm, as the country’s mining industry seeks to cut its reliance on troubled state-owned power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd.
South Africa plans to transition to cleaner energy sources from the most polluting fossil fuel, but faces the additional challenge of cushioning the blow to communities dependent on coal mines for jobs.
The 155MW wind farm, 20 kilometres from Seriti’s New Denmark mine, will help smooth that transformation as it creates as many as 800 jobs, according to the company’s head of green energy, Peter Venn.
While grid capacity is saturated in many parts of the country, the coal-rich province of Mpumalanga has a surplus of connections that can be exploited by the mining sector.
The new wind farm should be completed in the first quarter of 2026, helping to plug a shortfall as Eskom’s aging coal-fired plants struggle to meet demand.
“There are going to be plenty of projects” to supply power for mines in the area, Seriti Green Chief Executive Officer Venn said in an interview at the Indaba mining conference in Cape Town.
The Seriti unit plans to build infrastructure capable of providing 900 megawatts of green energy over the next few years.
Seriti shareholders Standard Bank Group Ltd. and Rand Merchant Bank will fund the initial wind project, with the company “leveraging its balance sheet” to start construction in December and order key equipment such as transformers, Venn said.