Chris BishopBy Chris Bishop|August 16, 2022|3 Minutes|In Opinion


Could the winds of change blow away a dark cloud.

A breath of good news for the planet blew through Africa this week in the shape of a multi-million-dollar deal that indicates the wind may be changing.

South African company Seriti Resources – a company that produces millions of tonnes of coal every year that end up polluting the air – is trying to green its portfolio. It has bought a $55 million dollar 51 per cent stake in world renewable energy outfit Windlab. The international green energy outfit has four projects in South Africa and a string of renewable operations in Australia, Canada and the USA.

“We need to be moving towards a lower carbon future through investing capital from coal into green energy. It is not only the right thing to do, but it makes business and societal sense,” Seriti chief executive officer and mining veteran Mike Teke said in a statement.

It is a 180 degree turn if ever there was one. Seriti is a major supplier of thermal coal to South African national power generator Eskom and its coal-fired power stations. These stations produce more than 70 per cent of South Africa’s power and a huge dark cloud of carbon monoxide every year making the climate change a growing problem.

Africa could suffer the most from climate change with its scorched fields becoming more arid by the year.

With energy – never mind renewable energy – in short supply in South Africa, the continent’s second largest economy, means it is going to be very difficult for Eskom to wean the national grid off filthy coal as a cheap source of electricity.

Down the years, the problem has been that renewable energy has been small scale and relatively expensive. Entrepreneurs who went into it a decade ago, in  South  Africa, with the help of favourable tariffs for their electricity faced last minute haggling from the government that left a sour taste.

But the good news is that a major coal supplier is diversifying into green energy using its financial muscle. Seriti Resources said it planned to invest $730 million in building a 450-megawatt wind farm in Mpumalanga to consolidate its foray into green energy.

This is not only going to create opportunities for entrepreneurs but it could also see other major coal suppliers diversify into green energy.

Let the winds of change blow.