Ngodwana-Mill_landscape
Ngodwana-Mill_landscape
The Sappi Ngodwana Mill Site will feed electricity into the national grid close to the pulp and paper plant

Pulp and paper solutions company Sappi Southern Africa has announced that its 25MW Ngodwana Energy Biomass Project in Mpumalanga has won a power-purchase agreement in round four of the REIPPP programme.

Sappi said in a statement that the Ngodwana Energy project, which is situated on the Sappi Ngodwana Mill Site, will feed electricity into the national grid near its plant within Elands Valley, between Emgwenya (formally Waterval Boven) and Mbombela (formerly Nelspruit).

Sappi Southern Africa and its project partners South Africa energy firm Fusion Energy, KC Africa, the Ngodwana Energy Employees Trust and Ngodwana Energy Community Trust will each hold a 5% stake in the project.

ELB engineering services was selected as the EPC contractor.

Commenting on the REIPPP win, Alex Thiel, CEO of Sappi Southern Africa, said: “Sappi will continue to focus on extracting maximum value from the renewable and sustainable wood fibre that we grow. This project builds on our earlier ZAR3 billion investment at Ngodwana Mill and further strengthens our presence in Mpumalanga province.

“The value added by Ngodwana Energy to the Mpumalanga region and National Government over the term of the PPA is significantly higher than alternate renewable energy technologies due to the extent and impact of value creation.”

Sappi has driven international projects including five hydroelectric projects, two gas and 31 steam turbine projects, which generate an estimated 800MW of power on across 14 sites in seven different countries.

Benefits of biomass fuel

Biomass power has a high load factor (Base Load) in the region of 200,000MwH per annum (90% in comparison to other technologies which have 30% – 40% availability factors).

Other benefits include the value chain creating higher employment on an operational level, the forestry industry is not as affected by seasonality and climatic conditions in contrast with annual crop supply chains, and unlike coal, the forestry industry can reinvest in raw material supply by replanting trees for future use as an energy source.

(Home page pic credit: Sappi)