South Africa’s Eskom Announces Battery Storage Plans

South Africa’s biggest electric utility Eskom announced the details of its forthcoming major battery storage deployments. The company said on Friday that by December 2024, it plans to have the first 343 MW of a 500 MW national energy storage rollout, which was previously announced by President Ramaphosa. Eskom selected South Korea’s Hyosung Heavy Industries and Chinese company Pinggao Group, as the two battery energy storage system (BESS) providers, among the bidders.

The 343MW of BESS will be four-hour duration, meaning a total of 1,440MWh capacity, and will be built in two phases. Phase 1 will cover 199MW/833MWh of battery storage built, including 2MW of solar PV. Phase 2 will see 144MW/616MWh of BESS installed along with 58MW of solar PV.

Eskom said the systems will help manage peak load on the electricity network, as well as providing other applications like ancillary services.

Hyosung has also received a letter of acceptance from Eskom in April for a separate 48 MW/192 MWh project near Durban.

The World Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB) are also among the institutions that provide financial support for the project. The AfDB said it would provide a $58 million fund.

Projects will be located at remote areas where electricity access is limited, but also not far from renewable energy plants operated by independent power producers.

Eskom places emphasis on the programme for the role of batteries on the South African grid in enabling the integration of large-scale solar and wind power into the energy mix, while increasing network stability, reliability and security of supply.

Keeping uninterrupted flow of electricity in the country has been a challenge for both Eskom and the authorities. To that end, the company launched the Risk Mitigation Power Procurement Programme tenders, through which it has contracted for energy from dispatchable resources, including natural gas and a significant volume of solar-plus-storage projects.

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