South Africa’s Eskom to install distributed battery storage

Written by
5 Aug 2022
South Africa’s Eskom to install distributed battery storage

Two contracts were awarded to build large scale utility batteries with capacity of 1440MWh per day, starting South Africa's Battery Energy Storage System project to provide grid stability during peak periods.

Eskom awarded two 5-year contracts for the provision of battery storage solutions in its distribution networks. They initiate the development of large scale utility batteries with capacity of 1440MWh per day coupled with 60MW solar PV capacity to be implemented in two phases.

The contracts announced last week are for design, supply and installation as well as operating and maintenance. They went to the South Korean company Hyosung Heavy Industries and the Chinese company Pinggao Group.

The awards constitute a major step in the country’s Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) project to provide grid stability during peak periods. The batteries will be used primarily for national peak shaving to manage demand for four hours a day for at least 250 days of the year. They will also be used for ancillary services and local network support.

Phase 1 encompasses the installation of approximately 199MW capacity, with four hours of storage, equalling 833MWh at eight Eskom Distribution substation sites. It also includes about 2MW solar PV capacity

Phase 2 includes installation of 144MW which is equivalent to 616MWh at four Eskom Distribution sites and one transmission site. It also includes 58MW solar PV capacity.

"It will be one of the largest BESS projects to be developed and implemented in South Africa,” said Velaphi Ntuli, Eskom’s General Manager Coal & Clean Technology.

A 500MW BESS initiative was announced last month by President Cyril Ramaphosa as part of the government’s measures to address South Africa’s long-running electricity crisis. The distributed battery storage sites are strategically situated at remote areas with limited access to our distribution networks, but close to renewable independent power producers’ plants.

"Storage is one of the key initiatives to assist in addressing the country’s electricity challenges in the long-term," said Eskom CEO André de Ruyter.

All Phase 1 sites are planned to be commissioned by the end of June 2023, and Phase 2 by December 2024.

Established in 1923 as the Electricity Supply Commission, Eskom is the largest producer of electricity in Africa and the largest of South Africa's state owned enterprises.

Energy & Utilities reported in February on Cape Town's launch of a renewable energy programme, in part to alleviate frequent load shedding attributed to Eskom.  

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