South African-state utility Eskom – along with its partner, Hyosung Heavy Industries – has begun construction of its first utility-scale battery energy storage system in KwaZulu-Natal Province to help ensure stability of the grid network during peak hours.
The utility will construct the 8 MW/ 32 MWh Eskom Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) project – South Africa’s first battery storage project under Eskom’s leadership – in multiple phases.
The first phase includes the installation of 199 MW of generation capacity and 2 MW of solar PV capacity for integration with an 833-MWh distributed energy storage system, which is set to be installed at eight substations in Elandskop. Phase 1 of the energy storage project is expected to be completed by June 30, 2023.
Phase 2, which will run through December 2024, will include the installation of a 54-MW solar PV system and 144 MW of storage capacity.
The entire project will provide storage capacity of 1,440 MWh per day and 60 MW of PV capacity, making it one of the largest battery system projects to be developed and implemented in South Africa.
Andre de Ruyter, Eskom Group’s Chief Executive, said the project “is a direct response to the urgent need to address South Africa’s long-running electricity crisis by adding more generation capacity to the grid, and also to strengthen the grid by adding more storage and transforming capacity.”
Velaphi Ntuli, General Manager, Distribution, Operations Enablement, Eskom, added that the utility “has identified distributed storage as an alternative to support renewable energy expansion in South Africa, and we have taken the necessary steps to ensure the successful implementation of the BESS project.”
The R11-billion development is being financed through loans secured from the World Bank, African Development Bank and New Development Bank.