Mercedes Benz signs up with Amatola Green Power
December 16, 2007
Mercedes Benz, a German automobile brand owned by Daimler AG (the world’s thirteenth largest car manufacturer), signs up a deal with Amatola Green Power, the sole seller of green power in South Africa, for a supply of electricity.
Amatola will sell green power to Mercedes Benz under an agreement with the City of Tshwane. The electricity will be made out of the excess energy that sugar giants produce from bagasse, a waste product produced from sugar cane. Basically, green power is the generation of electricity from renewable energy sources like biomass, wind and solar power.
The electricity will be delivered to the national electricity grid, to which Eskom already granted Amatola access. By such, end consumers will have the chance to purchase the said electricity.
Amatola has been selling power to clients who pay a premium of about 30 to 40 percent to the sugar-generated power, compared with the usual electricity prices. Currently, the company is selling 12MW of green power annually, of which 20 percent is sold to Mercedes Benz SA, the maker of quality Mercedes S430 radiator hose. About 30 to 35 percent is taken to Buffalo City Municipality, while the rest to the city of Tashwane.
South Africa is considerably one of the world’s highest producers of greenhouse gas emissions.
Last October, Amatola obtained the approval of the National Energy Regulator of South Africa and the department of minerals and energy, enabling the company to buy and sell the green electricity in a voluntary market.
According to Console Tleane, spokesperson the City of Tashwane, “Customers now have a choice to purchase ‘green’ electricity to demonstrate their support for initiatives to restore and keep our environment clean.”
Len van Wyk, MD of AGP, said, “Despite various requests from individuals to buy green power, we can’t deal with the retail market at this stage because we don’t have the necessary infrastructure or a permanent license … We will be able to sell to individual consumers within the next two years. We are hoping to qualify for carbon trading within the next six months.”
Tongaat Hulett Sugar Limited and Transval Sugar Limited are Amatola’s suppliers of surplus electricity. They are situated at Felixton and Amatikulu in Zululand, KwaZulu-Natal, respectively.
Van Wyk said, “Sugar bagasse [sugar cane fibre] is a renewable form of energy because it is left over after sugar is manufactured.
Felixton Mill crushes two million tons of cane a year. Amatikulu Mill, on the other hand, crushes 1.7 million tons. Employing 700 people, together, they generate approximately 1.1 million tons of bagasse waste annually. Each of the four mills is generating about 25MW every year, selling off around 5% to 10% of the total generated.
Amatola is supplying the electricity that is generated from sustainable natural renewable energy sources, including biomass, small scale hydropower and landfill methane gas.
Amatola created the voluntary green power trading market to enable the trade over the national electrical network. The market provides the customers a choice in energy source.
Generation stations are located at the origin of the renewable energy source – to eliminate the need to build power plants on the customers’ premises. The generators are connected to the national electrical grid, just like the other existing power stations. Special equipment is used to monitor the output and to register the exact amount of green power an internationally recognized issuing body produced and converted into renewable energy certificates.
Every R1 000 paid for green power is equivalent to around 2.3 tons of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere.
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