Growthpoint signs landmark renewable energy wheeling deal with EtanaF

Growthpoint Properties CEO Estienne de Klerk. Photo: Supplied

Growthpoint Properties CEO Estienne de Klerk. Photo: Supplied

Published Jan 31, 2024


Growthpoint Properties, the JSE’s largest primary listed REIT, has entered into a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Etana Energy for 195GWh of renewable energy a year, or 32% of its annual electricity consumption.

The deal has set in motion the country’s first multi-jurisdiction, multi-building, multi-source renewable energy wheeling arrangement, and will enable Growthpoint’s tenants to access green energy and reduce their carbon footprint.

Growthpoint signed a PPA with electricity trader Etana Energy in November to wheel electricity to Growthpoint’s commercial property buildings in several areas across the country.

Through the agreement, Etana will cover 70% of the power consumed by Growthpoint’s participating buildings. In some buildings, Growthpoint will even be able to provide its tenants with the ability to purchase 100% renewable energy.

Growthpoint Properties CEO Estienne de Klerk said, “The wheeled renewable energy will mainly consist of wind, with a smaller component of hydro and large-scale solar electricity. The combination of generation sources allows for a high coverage of Growthpoint’s energy use, as electricity is generated throughout the day and night.”

He said the initiative significantly advanced Growthpoint’s progress towards its climate commitment of being carbon neutral by 2050.

“We are extremely pleased to collaborate with energy innovators like Etana and Serengeti to support our tenants to reach their own environmental goals by giving them access to renewable energy,” he said.

As a result of the agreement with Etana, Growthpoint has exclusive rights to buy all of the roughly 30GWh that will be generated annually by a 5MW hydroelectric power plant owned and operated by Serengeti Energy.

The plant is situated on the Ash River within the Lesotho Highlands Water Scheme (LHWS) close to Clarens in the Free State. The project provides the added benefit of generating 24/7 baseload power.

Growthpoint has also shown some interest in investing in the power plant, by signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Serengeti Energy.

Serengeti Energy owns and manages renewable energy projects of up to 50MW (mainly hydro) in sub-Saharan Africa and operates nine plants in five countries.

Initially targeted for South Africa's Renewable Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPPP) which contributes private sector-produced electricity to the national grid, Serengeti’s focus for this hydro plant shifted, and it advanced the project for the commercial and industrial sectors.

Serengeti Energy managing director Strafford Harris, said in a statement: “Hydro as a technology most definitely has a role to play in the energy mix in South Africa. It is encouraging for our sector to have concluded a PPA with Etana and Growthpoint, supporting appreciation for this technology not only for industrial use but also in the commercial sector.”

The project was also well placed to capitalise on the LHWS Phase 2 future expansion. The hydroelectric power plant has reached financial close and was currently under construction.

Commercial operations were scheduled from July 1, 2025, when the first electricity would be supplied to Growthpoint, wheeled via the Eskom grid and traded through Etana.

Thereafter, commissioning of wind and solar production from Etana’s portfolio of renewable energy projects connected to the national electricity grid, would commence.

Etana Energy director Reyburn Hendricks, said: “Business has a clear role to play in solving our biggest challenges, and this is a highly replicable, scalable example of how to achieve this while creating value for all involved.”

Etana, a majority black-owned licensed electricity trader, has partnered with IPPs on multiple ready-to-build wind, hydro and solar projects with secured grid connections, which were expected to come online over the course of 2025 and 2026.

Serengeti Energy is an Independent Power Producer (IPP) that develops, builds, operates and owns small to medium sized renewable energy power plants of up to 50MW across Sub-Saharan Africa.