South Africa’s Minister of Electricity met with South Africa’s mobile network operators, including Liquid Intelligent Technologies and Telkom.

South Africa’s newly-minted Minister of Electricity, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, met with mobile network operators on Thursday.

This is according to posts on Ramokgopa’s Twitter account.

“This morning I met with mobile network operators to understand their energy needs, as it relates to the protections of their assets and efficiency of their operations in light of load-shedding/the lack of power generation,” Ramokgopa stated.

“In tandem, the meeting also explored what it is that the network operators can do to help resolve the issue of power generation and contribute to the grid.”

Photos of the meeting show that Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub, MTN SA CEO Charles Molapisi, Telkom Consumer CEO Lunga Siyo, and Liquid Intelligent Technologies CEO Deon Geyser were present.

Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub (left) and MTN SA CEO Charles Molapisi (second from left), in a meeting with Minister of Electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa

Vodacom and MTN announced large-scale projects last year to reduce and eliminate their dependence on Eskom power generation.

In September 2022, Vodacom announced that it was working with Eskom on a pilot programme to buy all its electricity from renewable independent power producers.

While Vodacom would no longer put pressure on Eskom’s ailing coal-fired power stations, it still needed to wheel the electricity it procures over Eskom’s transmission grid.

Vodacom towers wouldn’t be free from load-shedding under this programme, but they would place less strain on the power plants.

According to Vodacom, the pilot’s success would provide a blueprint for other South African corporates to replicate.

This would result in more companies reducing their reliance on Eskom’s power stations, which would help solve South Africa’s energy crisis.

In January, Vodacom said it had made significant progress on the project. However, it can only move further once it has finalised an agreement with Eskom.

MTN, meanwhile, has targeted facilities in Centurion and Gqeberha for large-scale solar deployments with battery storage within the 2023/24 financial year.

It is also in discussions with private power producers to procure electricity from renewable sources.

MTN also plans to move its headquarters and Fairland datacentre off-grid by the end of 2023 through Combined Cooling Heat and Power technology, rooftop solar systems, a concentrated solar plant, and efficient lighting replacements.

While Telkom has not announced large-scale independent power procurements, it has built solar photovoltaic (PV) plants at Telkom Park in Centurion and its Bellville Complex.

Telkom first commissioned the plant at its Centurion headquarters in 2016 after covering its car park in solar panels.

All of South Africa’s major mobile network operators previously told MyBroadband that they are undertaking significant energy efficiency programmes.

Africa Data Centres (ADC), a subsidiary of Liquid Intelligent Technologies, is developing a 10MW solar PV power plant for its Cape Town campus in collaboration with sister company Distributed Power Technologies (DPT).

Construction on the project is expected to start around April 2023 and take between six to nine months.

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