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South Africa: Scatec amongst winners of 513MW battery storage tender

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Norway-based IPP Scatec has won preferred bidder status for a 103MW/412MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) project in South Africa, part of a 513MW tender.

The firm has won the award for the Mogobe BESS, one of four to be granted preferred bidder status under the Battery Energy Storage Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (BESIPPPP), it said yesterday (30 November).

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BESIPPPP is being run by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), which issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the procurement seeking five 4-hour BESS projects back in March this year. Four out of five projects have now seen a party given preferred bidder status with a fifth ‘to be appointed’, the South Africa state body said on the same day as Scatec’s announcement, though the companies behind them have not been revealed.

All five will be located at various substations run by grid operator Eskom and will provide it with capacity, energy and ancillary services, specifically Instantaneous Reserves, Regulating Reserves, Ten Reserves and Supplemental Reserves.

The ones to have a preferred bidder status are Agganeis (77MW), Mookodi (77M) Nieuwehoop (103MW) and Scatec’s at the Ferrum substation, with the largest, Garona (153MW) still to be announced.

Eskom has struggled to prevent regular blackouts from occurring in South Africa, and is aiming for large-scale BESS projects to help increase resiliency and stability on the grid.

“This marks another significant achievement for Scatec in South Africa and for the renewable energy transition in the country. Today’s award reaffirms our standing as a leading renewable energy player in South Africa. We applaud the South African government’s commitment and dedication to the battery storage procurement programme,” says Scatec CEO Terje Pilskog.

The firm, controlled by the Norwegian state, is already building solar-and-storage projects in South Africa awarded through a separate procurement, the Risk Mitigation Power Procurement Programme (RMIPPP) programme.

BESIPPPP’s minimum round-trip efficiency (RTE) requirement of 70% for the energy storage technologies provoked some debate over where flow batteries would be eligible. Analysis given to Energy-Storage.news by consultancies Clean Horizon and Harmattan Renewables suggested they wouldn’t, to which integrated vanadium producer Bushveld Minerals – which has a stake in vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) firm CellCubeswiftly responded in disagreement.

Both BESIPPPP and RMIPPP are separate from another procurement which has awarded contracts for 1,440MWh of BESS capacity, with the first system from that scheme coming online last month.

In its BESIPPPP announcement, the DMRE also said a new RMIPPP project award has been granted, for a 75MW solar and BESS project in De Aar, Northern Cape, though didn’t say which company was behind that.

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