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South Africa’s Eskom awards 48MW BESS project to Hyosung Heavy Industries

Eskom’s Sere Wind Farm. Image: Eskom.

Update 5 April 2022: A Hyosung Heavy Industries representative told the BESS will be 48MW rated output with 192MWh capacity. The battery system will perform peak shaving to help Eskom manage demand on the national network, but will also have a secondary use case providing ancillary services and local network support. The contract award is entirely separate to the other two stages of Eskom procurement referred to below and is exclusively Hyosung’s, the representative also said.

Hyosung Heavy Industries has been contracted to provide a battery energy storage system (BESS) to South Africa’s state-owned utility Eskom. 

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The South Korean heavy electrical equipment and engineering group confirmed to that reporting by Korean media group Maekyung on Wednesday was accurate. 

Eskom sent a letter of acceptance (LoA) which Hyosung Heavy Industries received 26 March, for the company to lead the project in which it will install and maintain a 48MW BESS at a substation near the coastal city of Durban.

A month-long review period is now underway ahead of final contract signing. 

Hyosung had been among a group of South Korean companies which submitted letters of intent in 2020 to carry out the three stage project, which Maekyung Media Group said is worth ₩150 billion, with the 48MW BESS the second stage and itself worth about ₩96.7 billion (US$80 million).

Hyosung Heavy Industries expanded into the US in 2019 and won its first European battery contract in early 2021, with a 50MW BESS in the UK for investment management group Downing

The company provides full energy storage system (ESS) to customers, including power conversion system (PCS), batteries and energy management system (EMS) and taking a hands-on approach to design. It leans on its experience as a leading power equipment company in Korea, the company claimed.   

Eskom in South Africa meanwhile has had well-publicised financial difficulties and an unreliable grid, while at the same time targeting for more than 40% of its power to come from renewables by 2030. The utility is also its country’s grid operator and is procuring battery storage systems as a means to lower electricity costs, increase system reliability and integrate higher shares of renewable energy and lessen its dependence on fossil fuels. 

As reported by in mid-March, Eskom is finalising procurements for more than 830MWh of BESS capacity at eight sites, backed with a loan from the African Development Bank, having already signed contracts for 1,300MWh of storage paired with renewable energy as part of a tender to remedy a 2GW shortfall of capacity. 

Further larger procurement rounds are expected to be launched in the next few months as the utility learns what works as its current procurement processes conclude, Adam Terry, technical director at South Africa-based consultancy Harmattan Renewables said.  

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