Eskom has awarded contracts to two successful bidders for the provision of battery storage solutions in terms of its flagship Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) project.
The power utility on Friday said the contracts awarded to Hyosung Heavy Industries and Pinggao Group, were for design, supply and installation as well as operating and maintenance for a five-year period.
Ramaphosa's energy plan
The contracts, awarded to the companies after a competitive bidding process, are the first part of the 500MW BESS initiative announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday as part of the government's measures to address South Africa's energy crisis.
"The Eskom BESS project will act as a proof of concept on the delivery of the first battery energy storage project in South Africa.
"The project supports transformational aspects by demonstrating large-scale deployment in support of South Africa's renewable energy strategy and addresses local overall system challenges," Eskom said in a statement.
Local network support
Eskom said it has envisioned that gains from the BESS project will help to alleviate the pressure on the national electricity grid.
"The project will be used primarily for national peak shaving (managing demand) purposes for four hours a day for at least 250 days of the year. It will also be used secondarily for ancillary services and local network support.
"There are also several technical applications and benefits that will be quantifiable over time. Charging of the batteries will take place during off-peak periods or when the network conditions permit."
The BESS project is designed to utilise large-scale utility batteries with the capacity of 1 440MWh per day and a 60MW solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity to be implemented in two phases.
"Phase 1 includes the installation of approximately 199MW additional capacity. With four hours of storage, this equals 833MWh storage of distributed battery storage plants at eight Eskom Distribution substation sites.
"This phase also includes about 2MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity. Phase 2 includes the installation of a total of 144MW which is equivalent to 616MWh at four Eskom Distribution sites and one Transmission site. The solar PV capacity in this phase is 58MW."
Eskom added that the distributed battery storage sites are strategically situated at remote areas with limited access to the distribution networks, but close to renewable independent power producers' (IPPs) plants.
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