This week, MTN South Africa released a request for proposals (RFP) that will transform the MTN Headquarters into a fully “green” workplace in order to secure and obtain dependable energy.
As part of the company’s larger Project Zero program, which investigates all forms of renewable energy on both a large and local scale, Phase 1 entails the procurement of providers for alternative energy rooftops and solar carparks.
According to Charles Molapisi, CEO of MTN SA, MTN’s energy strategy targets a wide range of current climate and energy concerns in addition to assisting manage the challenges presented by the current rolling power outages. The plan includes measures to mitigate the effects of climate change, lower energy costs, and lessen reliance on fossil fuels.
“Climate change must be addressed if Africa is to continue developing socioeconomically. According to Molapisi, “In South Africa, we understand the significance of striking a balance between reducing our environmental effect and the requirement to connect more people to high-speed broadband. “We are taking the necessary mitigation steps to help MTN and its citizens lessen their reliance on fossil fuel-generated electricity. Our main goals are to decrease any needless energy use, improve energy efficiency, use renewable energy sources more, and extract more value from traditional energy sources like heat, according to Molapisi.
In accordance with its obligations under its Net Zero Energy Strategy, MTN is taking a phased approach to the development of solar renewable energy-based projects in order to realize its net zero aspirations.
The MTN Net Zero Energy Project will be implemented in four phases:
- Phase 1 Facility – 14th Avenue Campus roof top and solar carports in car parks
- Phase 2 Facility – Ground mounted Solar Facility on vacant land adjacent to 14th Avenue Campus
- Phase 3 – Rooftop and Ground Mounted Solar at various other MTN Facilities
- Phase 4 – Off-site wheeling from REIPPs
The dependability and cost-effectiveness of the electricity supply will improve as a result of the implementation of the renewable energy project. Phase 1 is estimated to generate 7,143 Mwh (one Mwh is equal to 1,000 kilowatts of electricity generated per hour and to put this into perspective, the average developed economy house uses about 893 kwh a month). The review and eventual approval of all bids will affect these forecasts. Phase one’s preferred bidder notification is anticipated in December of this year.
“Bidders will decide the facility’s capacity after taking into account the availability of roof top and parking places and the facility’s suitability for maximizing capacity. However, it is evident based on current expectations that as we move through the phases, this should be more than adequate to move to complete energy independence of our building, surroundings, and tremendously aid in our journey to integrate alternative energy solutions into everything we do, adds Molapisi.
This RFP focuses on creating a facility for renewable energy at the headquarters of MTN and addresses the following Phase One initiatives:
- Roof top – several buildings have been identified for roof top installations
- Solar carparks – several carparks have been identified to replace current shade cloth with solar carpark structures and PV panels.
- Energy storage using battery storage
The facility will meet all applicable environmental and other legal requirements, as well as embedded generation and Grid Code requirements, and will include all the necessary infrastructure for the safe operation and maintenance of the rooftop and solar carpark installations, to generate and deliver renewable electrical energy to the chosen point of connection.
As part of the Group’s 2040 net zero ambition, MTN South Africa will cut its carbon footprints by investing in sizable IPP programs.
Utilizing Combined Cooling Heat and Electricity (CCHP) technology (Tri Generation) at three of its switching centers, MTN SA is using its IPP license for self-generation to generate 4.75 MW of power to sustain building electrical base load and to be only partially reliant on the Eskom grid.
Additionally, MTN has 30 off-grid renewable energy installations that produce an extra 57kW in isolated locations with no space restrictions.
As part of Project Zero, which aims to reach net zero emissions by 2040, Molapisi says, “We see this as an opportunity to study all forms of renewable energy, large and smaller scale systems, as well as investing in huge IPP feasibility initiatives.”
In order to maintain network stability, the plan also emphasizes the use of battery technologies and backup power sources.
The difficulty in supplying renewable energy at all of our base station installations is that this is highly dependent on available space to fit massive solar arrays to meet our power needs to support the most recent network technologies (5G). Our current backup power strategy mostly relies on battery backup, with permanent onsite generators at important facilities and mobile backup generators deployed by MTN when needed, says Molapisi.