V&A Waterfront in significant cleaner energy deal with Etana

André Theys, Executive Manager: Operations at the V&A Waterfront. SUPPLIED.

André Theys, Executive Manager: Operations at the V&A Waterfront. SUPPLIED.

Published Jun 19, 2024


The V&A Waterfront in Cape Town has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Etana Energy for 43 gigawatt hours (GWh) of renewable energy a year, enough to supply 70% of the popular entertainment destination’s energy needs, starting early 2026.

V&A Operations Executive Manager, André Theys, said the 10-year PPA with the Nersa licensed electricity trader Etana, was a landmark in the rollout of the V&A’s sustainability strategy that has as a target commitment to net-zero carbon emissions by 2035.

With the addition of the Waterfront’s rooftop solar installations, almost 80% of the neighbourhood’s electricity would come from renewable sources, when the Etana agreement becomes operational.

He said 90% of the Waterfront’s emissions was from energy purchases, so the PPA with Etana would make a big contribution to reducing the neighbourhood’s carbon footprint.

It would also benefit the wider community: “The V&A’s sustainability strategy is based on a shared value ecosystem in which everyone at the Waterfront – tenants, residents, staff and visitors – works together to make our precinct the best it can be,” he said.

Theys said that by being proactively innovative, they could showcase what was possible and provide proof points that would make it easier for others to follow in their footsteps.

The V&A, with 24 million visitors a year, had already reduced its carbon emissions by 47%, its water use by 61%, and all organic and recyclable waste – 62% of the total – was diverted from landfills. Single-use plastic was planned to be phased out by 2025.

A waste-to-energy pyrolysis plant was also planned for the precinct, which would produce synthetic gas for electricity, complementing solar power.

A blackwater treatment plant produces treated effluent that is used to flush toilets. A desalination plant has the capacity to take the entire neighbourhood off the City of Cape Town water supply.

“Shared value ecosystems are becoming increasingly important as businesses look for new ways to create value and give back to society. They offer a promising approach to solving some of the world’s most pressing problems,” said Theys.

The PPA follows a similar deal with Etana Energy by Growthpoint Properties, joint owner of the V&A Waterfront with the Public Investment Corporation.

The Growthpoint PPA is for 195GWh of renewable energy annually, representing 32% of the company’s total annual consumption.

Etana Energy CEO Evan Rice was delighted to be supporting the V&A Waterfront’s sustainability strategy and reducing the carbon intensity of South Africa’s energy system.

He said, “Business has a clear role to play in solving our biggest challenges, and this is a highly replicable, scalable example of how to achieve this while creating value for all involved.”

Millions of people from all over the continent and rest of the world visit the V&A Waterfront, situated in South Africa’s oldest working harbour, every year.

Etana’s main shareholders are H1 Holdings, which has invested in 23 renewable energy projects, mainly wind and solar, totalling over 2.5GW of combined capacity, including 1.8GW in operation. Another shareholder is Chariot Transitional Power, which is part of the London listed energy company Chariot.