Discovery Group has introduced an electricity wheeling system that will allow South African businesses to access generated renewable energy.
During an event held in Johannesburg this morning, the financial services group launched Discovery Green, a renewable energy platform that connects businesses across South Africa to renewable power generated by utility-scale renewable plants.
The Discovery Green renewable energy platform will operate through a process called “wheeling”.
During the process, energy is generated at the most efficient locations in the country and “wheeled” to a business through the national grid – allowing businesses to run on more affordable, renewable energy.
Discovery Group CEO Adrian Gore explained that by procuring between 400MW and 1GW of wind and solar energy from a curated list of local and international independent power producers, the platform will stimulate an investment of approximately R20 billion to R25 billion in the country’s energy infrastructure. This is enough to establish 2 700 rugby fields of solar farms or 200 to 250 wind turbines.
“Discovery has set a target to be carbon-neutral by 2025, and we are working very hard to achieve it. We currently go through about 29 000 tons of carbon per annum, and we have been planning on how to reduce this amount.
"The Discovery Green model helps organisations to minimise carbon emissions by focusing on four key merits: electricity, consumption, travel and an organisation’s behaviour, which will translate into societal good," he explained.
The impact of 1GW in renewable energy generation represents a saving of 2.75 million tonnes of CO2/annum, the equivalent of 100 times the emissions of a business the size of Discovery, Gore pointed out.
In its initial phase, the platform will be open to businesses that are medium to large consumers of electricity connected to Eskom’s distribution grid.
The first businesses to be enrolled include a network of large Discovery corporate partners, and over time, the platform will expand to other clients across SA, as virtual wheeling and new wheeling frameworks through municipalities become available, according to the company.
Andre Nepgen, head of Discovery Green, noted it will provide businesses with renewable energy from 2026, enabling them to significantly reduce their emissions and helping to address the national shortfall in electricity.
“It addresses a fundamental issue of renewable energy – that energy is only generated when the sun shines or the wind blows, yet businesses consume based on their individual needs. With the benefit of aggregation, modelling and diversification, Discovery Green is able to offer products that are completely different to the market’s share-of-plant approach.”
The City of Cape Town and Vodacom are among parties that have introduced electricity wheeling projects as power utility Eskom battles to provide SA with an uninterrupted power supply.