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CIP and EDF win bid for 1GW-plus of South Africa BESS projects

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A consortium including Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) and utility EDF has won preferred bidder status for three battery energy storage system (BESS) projects in South Africa.

The consortium was awarded the three BESS projects totalling 257MW/1,028MWh of energy storage by South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), out of a total of five awarded.

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The consortium consists of independent power producer (IPP) Mulilo, majority owned by CIP and the renewable IPP arm of France-headquartered EDF, EDF Renewables.

The projects – Oasis Aggeneis, Oasis Mookodi and Oasis Nieuwehoop – will cost ZAR 7 billion (US$372 million) and construction is expected to start in mid-2024. They will dispatch electricity to the grid, operated by transmission system operator (TSO) Eskom, under 15-year power purchase agreements (PPAs).

The five projects awarded by DMRE make up a 513MW/2,052MWh tender DMRE issued a request for proposals (RFP) on back in March 2023. All will be located at Eskom substations throughout South Africa and will provide capacity, energy and ancillary services (Instantaneous Reserves, Regulating Reserves, Ten Reserves and Supplemental Reserves).

According to the initial tender announcement, Aggeneis and Mookodi will both be 77MW while Nieuwehoop will be 103MW. Based on the four-hour duration and total capacity, Aggeneis and Mookodi should be 308MWh each while Nieuwehoop will be 412MWh.

Norway-based IPP Scatec won a 103MW/412MWh, covered by Energy-Storage.news recently, through the same DMRE procurement while the fifth winner has not been revealed.

Robert Helms, partner at CIP, commented: “We commend the South African government’s strong commitment to the rapid buildout of battery energy storage, a key focus technology for Mulilo.”

The tender specifications provoked some debate in the energy storage community about what technologies would qualify, with a consultancy stating that flow batteries would not meet them, which was quickly shot down by the parent company of a vanadium redox flow battery firm.

Eskom and the South African government are looking to energy storage to shore up the grid and integrate more renewables through several procurement programmes.

One is the Risk Mitigation IPP Procurement Program (RMIPPPP) for solar and storage, for which Saudi-based IPP ACWA Power recently won a project with a 1,200MWh BESS. Scatec started construction on one of its winning projects in December while EDF is also building projects for RMIPPPP.

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