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South Africa’s DMRE issues 513MW/2GWh battery storage RFP

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The Department of Mineral Resource and Energy (DMRE) of South Africa has issued its request for proposals (RFP) for six battery storage projects totaling 513MW/2,052MWh, with a July deadline.

The RFP, issued last week (7 March), is for battery storage projects at five substations run by grid operator Eskom, which will be the buyer of the project’s energy. The deadline for submitting bids is 5 July, 2023.

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The substations are Aggeneis (a 77MW project), Ferrum (103MW), Garona (153MW), Mookodi (77MW) and Nieuwehoop (103MW), all in the province of Northern Cape.

The projects will provide capacity, energy and ancillary services to Eskom, specifically Instantaneous Reserves, Regulating Reserves, Ten Reserves and Supplemental Reserves.

All will have a four-hour duration meaning a total energy storage capacity of a little over 2,000MWh. They will also require a minimum round-trip efficiency (RTE) of 70%. Lithium-ion is typically in the high 90%-range, so this requirement potentially opens the tender up to other chemistries like flow batteries.

The projects will be required to perform a maximum of 730 equivalent full cycles per year, meaning an average of two a day with a specified availability of 95% over the whole year (to be confirmed).

The ruling part of South Africa the African National Congress last month tweeted that the RFP was approaching. The government is launching this RFP through its IPP Office (Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme), and it represents one of several big tenders through which Eskom is seeking to shore up grid stability through storage.

The country is seeking a net zero electricity system by 2050 but more pressing is the need to put and end to widespread and frequent grid outages.

The grid operator finalised the procurement of some 343MW/1,440MWh of battery storage in August last year and the end of the year saw the start of construction on some of these. That coincided with procurement notice for 146MWh as part of the same rollout, in December.

A separate round of procurements for solar and storage projects was also finalised last year and saw Norway-based renewable energy developer Scatec start construction on three projects with 1,140MWh of energy storage.

Documents related to the RFP are accessible on the DMRE website here.

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