Africa Data Centres, a unit of Cassava Technologies group, has signed a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with DPA Southern Africa, a joint company of Distributed Power Africa and the French utility, EDF.
Under the agreement, DPA SA will supply 12MW of renewable solar energy for Africa Data Centres facilities in South Africa. “Through this agreement, our customers will benefit from a sustainable data centre,” says Tesh Durvasula, CEO of Africa Data Centres, the largest network of interconnected data centre facilities in Africa.
As the demand for data continues to soar, the data centre industry is expanding rapidly, he explains. “While data centres are the foundation of the digital transformation process in Africa, they require reliable, cost-effective and preferably green power to operate. Our partnership with DPA helps in reducing our reliance on the strained South African national grid, enabling us to play our part in alleviating the current energy challenges facing the country”.
Energy will be delivered to Africa Data Centres’ facilities partly from the solar farm DPA is developing near Bloemfontein to deliver the first 12MW required for the ADC data centres.
Research reveals that the global data centre market was valued at US$187.35 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach US$517.17 billion by 2030, registering a CAGR of 10.5% from 2021 to 2030. Estimates suggest that data centres are responsible for as much as 2% of the world’s energy consumption, which is approximately the same as the aviation industry.
While strides have been made towards carbon neutrality, designing, developing, and
operating sustainable facilities is still one of the greatest challenges faced by developers, co-location operators, global cloud computing providers and hyperscalers.
According to Durvasula: “Each year, the data centre industry must try to accommodate two
fundamental goals. Firstly, it must meet the demand for the capacity needed to support the ever increasing range of high-performance computing, digital services, edge environments and connected devices. Secondly, it must find ways to lower energy usage and reduce its universal impact resources that are already stretched to the limit.”
Africa Data Centres itself has a target to power all its data centres with clean, zero-carbon sources of energy. “This new deal will provide over 30% of our South African data centres with renewable energy, a great stride forward in our aim to reach carbon neutrality.”
The data centre giant is at the vanguard of sustainable change and has committed to helping South African companies reduce their reliance on the already strained power supply. “By signing this latest PPA, we will reach our second milestone towards carbon neutrality. Our first milestone was to optimise our roof space with solar, and this latest deal will see us utilising the recently approved wheeling mechanism within South Africa’s municipalities”.
DPA is a pan-African renewable energy company with key operations in South Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe whose vision is to power Africa to a brighter future.
Commenting on the partnership, Norman Moyo, CEO of DPA, said: “Our customers are looking for cost-effective and efficient ways of meeting their green targets and reduce energy costs for their businesses in a climate of increased power shortages. We are excited to embark on this milestone project with Africa Data Centres as it will demonstrate our innovation in deploying renewable energy solutions”.
Through the creation of a 50:50 Joint Venture between DPA and EDF in South Africa via DPA Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd, EDF intends to develop hybrid energy solutions for clients across Africa.
Valérie Levkov, Senior VP Africa and Middle East at EDF commented: “This agreement with Africa Data Centres re-affirms EDF’s commitment to provide low carbon solutions for commercial and industrial client in Africa, and we are very pleased to be a part of this initiative.”
By working together, the two companies are also supporting several of the United Nations
Sustainable Development Goals. To ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all and to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. This partnership also creates sustainable consumption and production patterns and, most significantly, takes urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.