Discovery’s plan to tackle load-shedding, emissions  

Discovery launched a renewable energy platform called Discovery Green, which aims to connect businesses with renewable energy generation to reduce their carbon footprint, save money on electricity costs and mitigate the effects of load-shedding. 

Discovery CEO Adrian Gore said companies have limited options to reduce their emissions, with most of their CO² emissions coming from electricity consumption. 

Most of Eskom’s electricity is generated from coal-fired power plants, which are highly carbon-intensive. 

South Africa has the dirtiest electricity in the world on a kilogram of CO² emitted per kWh basis, more than double the global median. 

Companies such as Discovery have little opportunity to mitigate this as onsite generation, such as rooftop solar, has little impact on their electricity consumption. 

Discovery said rooftop solar at its head office in Sandton only reduces their consumption by 3%. 

Thus, Discovery Green was launched to tackle this problem by matching companies with large-scale renewable energy generation facilities outside the country’s urban areas. 

The scheme plans to do this through virtual wheeling agreements with Eskom. 

The service has already been offered to select partners, including Woolworths, Sun International, Virgin Active, Planet Fitness, Clicks, and Life Healthcare. 

Discovery has also partnered with RMB as an investment banking partner to provide advice and funding. 

Two products were launched – Green Saver and Green Guarantee – which offer varying degrees of renewable coverage of electricity consumption. 

The Green Saver product aims to cover 70% of a company’s annual energy consumption, providing significant savings on electricity of up to 20% compared to utility prices. 

The Green Guarantee aims to cover 100% of a company’s annual energy consumption with renewable energy. 

Discovery has been working with about 14 independent power producers and is considering building on as many as 27 sites across South Africa with a view to start operating by 2026.

Construction on these facilities is set to begin early next year and will take 18 to 24 months to complete. It is also in talks with Eskom as to how these can be added to the grid.

Initially, the company plans to use 400 MW to 1,000 MW of renewable energy capacity for medium to large Eskom-connected businesses.

To compensate for this two-year lag, Discovery is offering its Discovery Green clients free access to Discovery Bank’s partnership with alternative energy supplier Rubicon. 

Green Saver

Green Guarantee