Africa’s Largest Battery Storage Facility Launched by Eskom 

The project is part of Eskom’s initiative to enhance the grid stability, reduce the reliance on fossil fuels, and support the transition to a low-carbon energy future.

by Motoni Olodun

South Africa’s state-owned power utility, Eskom, has inaugurated Africa’s largest battery energy storage system (BESS), marking a major milestone for the country and the continent. The project in Worcester in the Western Cape province is part of Eskom’s initiative to address the chronic electricity shortages that have plagued the economy for years.

The BESS project uses large-scale utility batteries with a total daily capacity of 1,440MWh and a 60MW solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity. The project is funded by the World Bank and implemented by South Korea’s Hyosung Heavy Industries and China’s Pinggao Group. The project aims to enhance grid stability, reduce the reliance on fossil fuels, and support the transition to a low-carbon energy future.

The Hex site, officially unveiled on Friday, is the first of eight sites Eskom plans to install across the country as part of Phase 1 of the BESS programme. The Hex site can store 100MWh of energy to power a town with almost 100,000 people for about five hours. The other sites will be located in KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Western Cape, and Northern Cape provinces, adding around 833MWh storage capacity to the grid.

Eskom’s Group Executive for Distribution, Monde Bala, said the project proved what can be achieved through teamwork and collaboration with industry and local communities. He also thanked the funders and the construction partners for their support.

Eskom’s General Manager for Distribution and Operations Enablement, Velaphi Ntuli, said the project was a pioneering effort to validate the feasibility and benefits of the BESS technology. He said the successful implementation would pave the way for wider adoption and possible technology export to other regions beyond South Africa.

The BESS project aligns with South Africa’s commitment to the just energy transition, which aims to ensure a fair and inclusive shift to a more resilient and sustainable energy system. The project also demonstrates Eskom’s innovation and leadership in finding solutions to the electricity challenges and preparing for the new era in the energy distribution landscape.

The project has received positive feedback from various stakeholders, including the government, the private sector, civil society, and the international community. The project is a game-changer for the energy sector and a catalyst for economic growth and development.

The project is also expected to inspire other African countries to adopt similar technologies and solutions to address their energy needs and challenges. According to the International Energy Agency, Africa has the potential to become a global leader in renewable energy, with abundant resources and growing demand. However, the continent still faces significant barriers, such as a lack of infrastructure, financing, and policy frameworks.

The BESS project exemplifies how these barriers can be overcome through collaboration, innovation, and vision. The project shows that Africa can harness its energy potential and achieve sustainable development goals.

Source: Bloomberg

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