Sappi has signed an agreement with the Department of Energy to build a renewable energy plant at its mill in Mpumalanga. Sappi and consortium partners KC Africa and African Rainbow Energy and Power would spend a combined R1.8bn on a 25MW biomass energy unit at the company’s Ngodwana mill, said Sappi Southern Africa CEO Alex Thiel. Sappi will have a 30% stake in the facility, which is expected to contribute to the national grid from July 2020. Construction would probably start in August and project expenditure on black-owned entities would be at least R600m, Thiel said. The consortium signed an agreement with the Department of Energy on Wednesday as part of the government’s renewable energy programme. The programme involves 27 projects and R56bn in investments and would add about 2,300MW to the national grid over the next five years, Energy Minister Jeff Radebe said. Sappi already contributes to the national grid by selling surplus energy from its Ngodwana and Saiccor mills to Eskom....

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