Giving power to people

Barclays Africa was the first organisation to partner with Eskom’s demand response programme. Under this initiative, Eskom pays organisations that have their own power generation capacity to reduce power on the electricity grid during peak times.

Barclays saves about 5 300MW/h a year off the grid between 5pm and 8pm – power that is diverted to roughly 5 200 households.

This initiative alone has reduced the bank’s carbon footprint by 3 800 tonnes and produced a profit of R5.2-million in 2013.

The bank has entrenched energy efficiency and electricity savings into its business practices through a virtual power station at the Barclays Energy Centre in Johannesburg. It has contracted specialist providers to manage the centre, as well as the operation of its natural gas generators.

Aveshen Moodley, vice president of the group’s corporate real estate solutions, says the group has an ongoing programme of energy efficiency improvements at its corporate headquarters and throughout its branch network that entails refurbishment of energy-hungry components.

It has made significant progress in this regard, with its African operations contributing a staggering 73% to the global Barclays group’s carbon emissions reduction target in 2013.

Moodley says the rationale for the virtual power station was to provide resilience to Barclays’ Johannesburg city campus, which comprises eight buildings.

This was done by installing four 2.8MW natural gas generator sets that can produce 11.2MW of electricity when operating at full capacity. The plant runs at closer to 20% of capacity and is used primarily to supplement grid power and perform peak lopping during peak tariff periods to reduce its electricity bill and carbon footprint.

Should a power outage occur, the power plant would then ensure that Barclays’ critical business operations, including its payments centre and data centre upon which its national operations are reliant, can continue uninterrupted.

This, together with other initiatives of a smaller magnitude, enabled the bank to reduce its total carbon footprint by 38 349 tonnes of CO2 equivalent. It has also cut energy consumption from 453.7GWh in 2012 to 420.4GWh – a 7% improvement.

In financial terms, this equated to a saving of more than R50-million on the bank’s utility bills.

The dividends have extended beyond the bank through its participation in Eskom’s demand response programme. The agreement has been extended until April 2015, and includes Eskom being able to call on Barclays to ramp up output from the gas generation plant from 20% to 95% in the event of a power outage.

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.”

Related stories


Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Latest stories

Tunisia struggles to grow more wheat as Ukraine war bites

Since the Ukraine war sent global cereal prices soaring, import-dependent Tunisia has announced a push to grow all its own durum wheat, the basis for local staples like couscous and pasta.

Democracy under serious and sustained attack from within the US

Far-right Republicans and the conservative supreme court are working on a carefully laid plan to turn the US into a repressive regime

Grilling for UK leader Boris Johnson after top ministers quit

The prime minister has faced lawmakers' questions after two of the most senior figures in his government resigned. The finance and health ministers said they could no longer tolerate the culture of scandal

Declare an ‘energy emergency’, says National Planning Commission

The commission said the goals of the National Development Plan, which it is charged with advancing, ‘cannot be achieved without energy security’

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…