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MTN issues two RFIs for zero carbon renewable wheeling, on-site renewable solutions

MTN's head office

Photo by Bloomberg

22nd May 2023

By: Natasha Odendaal

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Telecommunications giant MTN South Africa (SA) has issued two requests for information (RFIs) for zero carbon renewable wheeling and on-site renewable solutions for various data centres and base transceiver station (BTS) sites across South Africa as the operator works to unlock off-grid, clean and reliable energy alternatives.

MTN SA aims to gain an edge through renewable energy solutions across its footprint and meet its 2040 Net Zero targets.

“MTN’s hybrid energy RFI calls for applicants to deliver innovative solutions across solar, wind, hydro and any alternative innovative solution that ensures there are no emissions associated with the generation of the energy. Wheeling refers to the transportation of electricity from a generator to a remotely located end-user and this may take place across different distribution networks,” explains MTN South Africa CEO Charles Molapisi.

“Given the various challenges in South Africa, solutions must be scalable and offer high availability and efficiency. Hybrid renewable energy systems provide green energy to power assets sustainably, reducing reliance on unstable grids and the carbon-emitting fuels that are driving global warming,” he continues.

MTN SA aims to ensure these projects prove seamless integration with its telecommunication equipment to provide hybrid renewable energy generation for BTS sites and other asset classes.

“By substituting fossil fuel-fed run time with alternative energy, a further benefit is that there will be a reduction in the amount of diesel burnt per site by reducing generator run hours.”

Interested parties have until June 19 to submit their interest for the wheeling solution or the on-site solution.

The RFIs followed MTN’s 2021 signing of the SBTi pledge, which defines and promotes best practice in science-based target setting and formally commits MTN to a Net Zero 2040 ambition.

“This implies that our carbon emissions must be balanced and means that we need to apply more low-carbon and carbon-zero approaches. It entails using goods and services with zero or low carbon emissions, aligned with global standards,” says Molapisi.

MTN embarked on various sustainability initiatives to achieve this, including the construction of a solar park at its headquarters in Johannesburg, the signing of its first power purchase agreement (PPA) with an undisclosed renewable power producer and the company’s first major solar renewable energy generation project which will be launched in due course, as well as testing of several solutions for further deployment.

This forms part of a four-phase green energy programme that includes on-site renewable deployment, off-site renewable PPAs and driving energy efficiencies, such as energy efficient lighting replacement and the decommissioning and removal of legacy high energy redundant hardware, at technical buildings, corporate buildings and technical infrastructure.

Phase 1 comprises the transformation of MTN’s Roodepoort campus into a solar park, which will result in 40% less dependency on grid electricity.

After performing technical studies on the campus, the preferred solution will see solar photovoltaic panels being placed at the campus, with a battery energy storage system.

“MTN is firmly on track to deliver broad, deep-rooted and beneficial alternative energy projects that make a difference to the planet, while ensuring we deliver network stability and excellence to our customers. Everyone deserves the benefit of a modern connected life and innovation cannot stop as we work to deliver against this promise,” Molapisi concludes.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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