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A new platform for business to access renewable and affordable wheeled energy – Discovery Green

Discovery has announced the launch of Discovery Green, a renewable energy platform that connects businesses across South Africa to affordable, renewable power generated by utility-scale renewable plants.

The Discovery Green renewable energy platform will operate through a process called “wheeling”. Energy is generated at the most efficient locations in the country and “wheeled” to a business through the existing national grid, allowing businesses to run on more affordable, renewable energy.

By procuring between 400MW and 1GW of wind and solar energy from a curated list of leading local and international Independent Power Producers, the platform will stimulate an investment of approximately R20-R25bn in the energy infrastructure of the country (enough to establish 2700 rugby fields of solar farms or 200-250 wind turbines). The impact of 1GW in renewable energy generation represents a saving of 2.75 million tonnes of CO2/annum, the equivalent of 100 times the emissions of a business the size of Discovery Limited.

In its initial phase, the platform will be open to businesses who are medium to large consumers of electricity connected to Eskom distribution. The first businesses enrolled to the service include a network of large Discovery corporate partners, and over time the platform will expand to other clients in South Africa as Virtual Wheeling and new wheeling frameworks through municipalities become available.

Discovery Green will provide enrolled businesses with renewable energy in 2026, enabling them to significantly reduce their emissions and helping to address the national shortfall in electricity.

“Discovery Green was built with our goal of being carbon neutral by 2025 in mind. It addresses a fundamental issue of renewable energy – that energy is only generated when the sun shines or the wind blows, yet businesses consume based on their individual needs. With the benefit of aggregation, modelling and diversification, Discovery Green is able to offer products that are completely different to the market’s share-of-plant approach,” says Andre Nepgen, Head of Discovery Green.

For most non-industrial or mining businesses, the primary source of emissions is from electricity generation – on average, electricity accounts for 80% of Scope 1&2 emissions combined. While businesses are setting emission reduction goals as part of their ESG strategies, achieving a reduction in emissions is challenging because onsite generation such as rooftop solar only has minimal gains.

Discovery has developed two products aimed at addressing the potential needs of any business:

  • The Green Saver product is for companies who wish to maximise both the amount of renewable energy they consume and the financial savings they receive from more affordable renewable energy.
  • The Green Guarantee product is the first of its kind providing companies with 100% renewable energy each month without the prohibitive costs. The product is limited in its availability and aimed at companies with a strong environmental commitment.

The platform was developed with the support of RMB, Discovery’s investment banking partner who has funded over R30bn in renewable energy projects in Africa to date. RMB’s team of industry experts will apply their extensive experience and oversight to help minimise risk associated with all aspects of plant development, funding, construction and ongoing management.

To find out more about Discovery Green and the eligibility criteria for businesses to apply to Discovery Green in this phase, please visit www.discovery.co.za/discoverygreen.