Three firms launch new renewable energy platform for South Africa

A trio of firms has launched a platform that offers renewable energy to commercial and industrial customers in South Africa amid efforts to bolster the supply of clean and reliable power in Africa’s most advanced economy.

South Africa’s private sector has long suffered from unreliable and expensive electricity supply, mainly from Eskom, the state-owned utility that generates most of the country’s power. But a new venture promises to change that. Lyra Energy, a platform launched by Scatec, a Norwegian renewable energy company, Standard Bank, Africa’s largest bank by assets, and Stanlib, a South African asset manager, aims to provide clean, affordable, and predictable power to medium and large commercial and industrial customers.

Lyra Energy, with the use of an aggregator model, will fund, build, own and operate utility-scale renewable energy projects, and transmit the energy to multiple off-takers across the national grid. Customers will sign standardized power purchase agreements with the platform, which will offer increasing savings over time. The platform will also provide green energy certifications, which will help customers achieve their net zero goals and meet preferential procurement requirements.
The platform aims to serve a previously unserved segment of the power market, which has significant electricity demands but does not justify the procurement and implementation of a dedicated large renewable energy project. This segment includes factories, mines, shopping malls and data centres, among others.

“Underpinned by Scatec’s extensive, well-established development pipeline, including market-leading technical and operational services, the Lyra platform is in a strong position to ensure successful, consistent generation of clean electricity,” CEO at Scatec, Terje Pilskog, said in a company statement.

“As with other Scatec projects, the platform’s new utility-scale projects will be supported by an integrated business model, with a strong focus on long-term community impact and sustainable job creation.”

The partners behind Lyra Energy are betting on their impressive track records in renewable energy to make Lyra Energy a success. Scatec operates in 14 countries and has more than 3.5 gigawatts of capacity in operation and under construction. Standard Bank has financed several renewable energy projects in South Africa, with its solar power funded projects set to add 1,500 megawatts to the national grid by the end of 2024. While Stanlib has invested in several renewable energy projects across Africa.

Lyra Energy looks to transform the renewable energy landscape in South Africa and offer a new way for the private sector to access clean, reliable and cost-effective power. It could also reduce the country’s dependence on coal, which accounts for more than 80% of its electricity generation and contributes to its high greenhouse gas emissions.