South Africa Commisions Solar Array for Continent's Largest Coal Port

Port of Richards Bay coal and petroleum terminals (Transnet file image)
Port of Richards Bay coal and petroleum terminals (Transnet file image)

Published Jun 9, 2024 8:28 PM by The Maritime Executive


In a bid to decarbonize South Africa’s major ports, Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has appointed Amulet Group Consortium to construct and operate its first 20 MW solar photovoltaic plant at the Port of Richards Bay. This project is part of the agency’s plans to install about 100 MW of renewable energy across South Africa’s eight commercial seaports.

The appointment of Amulet Group follows an RFP process that TNPA launched in May 2023. The consortium will be responsible for building and operating the 20 MW solar power and battery energy system at the Port of Richards Bay for seven years. TNPA expects that the design and construction of the plant will begin this month and will be operational by May 2026.

“The introduction of a renewable energy solution in the port system will enable the reduction of carbon emissions and greenhouse gas emissions from coal-generated electricity,” said Moshe Motlohi, TNPA Managing Executive for the Eastern Region ports.

Besides renewable energy, TNPA’s energy mix plans include the use of LNG, micro grids and battery energy storage systems (BESS). The operator is also exploring future use of green fuels such as ammonia or hydrogen in its marine fleet.

Last year, TNPA issued a Request for Information (RFI) for the development of a hydrogen fuel terminal and other related facilities at South African ports. The RFI is intended to assess the feasibility of operating and maintaining an import and export terminal for hydrogen at major South African ports.