Energy security is key to the future of logistics and retail in South Africa

Energy security is key to the future of logistics and retail in South Africa

*This content is brought to you by Fortress

Sustainable solutions are leading to long-term lease commitment from tenants

While the installation of solar PV plants is still a viable renewable energy option to indirectly aid in alleviating the pressure caused by load shedding, solar alone is not enough. Providing logistics and retail tenants with energy security requires a combination of solar, batteries, generators and smart meters and other sustainable initiatives that contribute to lowering carbon emissions and provide a reliable power source. 

Steven Brown, CEO of Fortress said, “The focus of our energy plan is to provide our tenants with the highest possible level of energy security at a reasonable price. It involves the use of solar power, generators, smart metering systems and batteries. Tenant responses have been exceptionally positive to our energy plans and the take-up at tenant level has been above our initial expectations.”

As an example, Cipla has signed a 10-year lease extension agreement until October 2033 for an 18,214m² warehouse they currently occupy in Cape Town, mainly because of the energy plan that has been implemented by Fortress. 

The future energy mix for a building will consist of grid power, solar PV (or other renewable sources), batteries and a generator coupled with smart meters and connectivity – a complete mini grid solution. Implementation of a variety of energy sources will allow for sustainable, reliable, and cost-effective power. 

Currently, each asset has a customised energy power plan based on the needs of the tenants and the opportunities and constraints within each asset,” explained Brown. The first steps include the installation of solar and smart meters and will be followed by battery installations as soon as Fortress is comfortable with the implementation of the technology and it being financially feasible.”

This plan is continuously reviewed as technologies mature and alternative opportunities come to market. “The impact of continued load shedding on our tenants’ businesses, and indirectly on our business, can be mitigated by ensuring a continuous supply of power for critical items. This requires embedded generation at asset level, combined with a more focused demand-side energy management system to address both energy efficiency and supply stability,” commented Brown. 

At 31 December 2023, Fortress has 42 operational solar PV installations compared to 25 plants at 30 June 2023. Since 31 December 2023, Fortress has completed eight plants, with a further eight plants planned for completion by 30 June 2024, thereby targeting a total of 58 plants by FY2024.

“Our installed capacity at 31 December 2023 was 15,293MWac, compared to 9,633MWac at 30 June 2023. It is our target to increase our installed capacity to 22,4MWac by 30 June 2024. It is our plan to add a further 12,0MWac, through a planned 37 projects, by 30 June 2025. This will increase our consumption of renewable energy to approximately 22% of total consumption,” said PC Potgieter, Sustainability Manager for Fortress. 

Brown continued, “The installation of backup generators is ongoing, and we are on target to have our core retail portfolio on backup power by 30 June 2024. The generators supply critical loads only, which enables us to keep generator size down and running costs as low as possible, while allowing our tenants to trade during periods of load shedding and power outages. We foresee that battery storage will be added to this solution over time.” 

The Fortress Logistics team is planning to have all of the existing and new properties in Central and Eastern Europe certified as BREEAM “Excellent” and are preparing further solar roll-out programmes in Romania and Poland following the successful implementation of the solar PV plants in Poland.

Fortress is perfectly positioned to produce energy. With over 2,5 million square metres of rooftop across the retail, logistics, and industrial portfolios, the company has a ‘solar farm’. “We have designed our new buildings with solar in mind from the start, including opportunities for wheeling and on-site embedded generation for the needs of the Parks. In time, the excess roof space can be used to generate electricity for wheeling to our other properties or we can sell the excess power to other users,” said Brown. Fortress builds in the same efficient way for all their developments, but the details lie in how the building is being utilised. Standard elements of the design include maximisation of natural light and ventilation, building orientation, LED lights, energy efficient air conditioners, etc. 

“We are focused on providing a turnkey solution for utilities to tenants – fibre, renewable energy, backup power solutions, and smart meters – all of this will be included when signing a lease for a Fortress property,” concluded Brown. 

Watch here:

Visited 459 times, 17 visit(s) today

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.