Business Maverick

ELECTRICITY CRISIS

Clover heads into winter with a R360m ‘servitised’ solution to ensure uninterrupted power

Clover heads into winter with a R360m ‘servitised’ solution to ensure uninterrupted power
Clover, the country’s largest dairy producer, has entered into a R360-million ‘servitised’ energy solution via Energy Partners. (Photo: Supplied)

The move could not have come at a better time, with the country having entered Stage 6 load shedding and warnings of possible Stage 8 blackouts in the winter months ahead.

As corporates around the country mobilise to mitigate load shedding risks, the country’s largest dairy producer, Clover, has entered into a R360-million “servitised” energy solution via Energy Partners.

Energy Partners has designed, invested in and constructed an integrated refrigeration, power and steam plant which it will operate and maintain over the next 20 years.

The servitisation aspect of the deal – where Clover pays for the service rather than the equipment – means that the dairy producer will only pay a fee per unit of the refrigeration and steam it uses, enabling a reduction of as much as R792-million in operational costs over the 20 years.

energy partners de waal

Energy Partners chief executive Manie de Waal. (Photo: Supplied)

Manie de Waal, chief executive of Energy Partners, says the model highlights an opportunity for commercial and industrial businesses to increase their bottom line while decreasing operational costs and risks in a very challenging economic environment.

“South Africa’s limited and unstable power supply is now a medium-term certainty. More than just electrical power, it is absolutely critical to identify opportunities across the total energy ecosystem, such as refrigeration and steam supply, whereby capital can be preserved, efficiency increased and costs reduced.”

Energy Partners’ servitisation model includes 100% investment, design, construction and utility management across power, refrigeration and steam assets.

The fact that Energy Partners will absorb the R360-million capital expenditure means that Clover will have funds free to invest in Project Sencillo – a five-year, multi-phased plan targeting the improved utilisation and efficiency of company assets and processes.

clover solar

Clovers Queensburgh, Durban, solar-assisted refrigeration plant. (Photo: Supplied)

Anton Pretorius, Clover’s group manager: product technology and technical services, says the move means that Clover will have access to a modern, automated plant that Energy Partners has committed to guaranteed uptime and efficiency in line with industry standards.

The move could not have come at a better time, with the country having entered Stage 6 load shedding and warnings of possible Stage 8 rolling blackouts in the winter months ahead. 

Construction of a new ammonia cooling plant within the existing plant room, a 1,180m2 boiler house and a 1.6MW solar system took 18 months.

Clover is hoping to see cooling efficiency increase by more than 40%, over and above the benefits of a reliable refrigeration and steam supply. The new plant is expected to reduce carbon emissions by 132 million tons over the next 20 years.

Two years ago, Clover moved its cheese factory from Lichtenburg to the Queensburgh mega-factory. One of the key reasons for the move was a lack of proper infrastructure, along with repeated power and water outages. DM

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