South Africa’s Eskom issues notice for 36MW/146MWh battery storage as CEO resigns


South Africa’s grid operator Eskom has issued a procurement notice for two grid-scale battery projects totalling 36MW/146MWh of energy storage, while the state-owned company’s CEO resigned this week.

The state-owned organisation is seeking companies to design, build, commission and operate battery energy storage systems (BESS) totalling 35MW/140MWh at its Melkhout substations (Lot A) and 1.54MW/6.16MWh system plus 2.04MW solar PV at its Mier substation (Lot B).

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The Lots, which were first announced in March this year but with a specific procurement notice issued 1 December, include five years of operation.

The procurement is part of a first phase of BESS procurements by Eskom totalling around 800MWh of energy storage plus 2MW PV, previously reported on by A portion of that has already been awarded and winning company Hyosung Heavy Industries started building its awarded projects last week.

Phase one will total US$406 million of investment from Eskom while phase two, whose value has not been disclosed yet, will see another roughly 640MWh and 60MW PV installed.

The two projects updated on 1 March will be financed by the Ivory Coast-headquartered African Development Bank (ADB) and the Shanghai-based New Development Bank, the latter founded by the BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). The process will be governed by procurement regulations from the World Bank.

Pre-bid clarification meetings for both Lots will be held on 18 January, 2023, with site meetings a week later. Bids for both must be delivered by 10 am South African Standard Time (SAST) on Wednesday, 01 March 2023.

The BESS units must have an availability or uptime of 95% of the reporting period.

The standalone BESS project procurements are in addition to around 430MWh/1300MWh of storage paired with renewable energy projects that won part of a 2GW tender through its Eskom’s Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Programme (RMIPPP). Norwegian company Scatec started work on its winning projects recently too.

In related news, Eskom announced the resignation of CEO André de Ruyter from the organisation yesterday (14 December), its 11th CEO in a decade. The grid operator has struggled to meet electricity demand in South Africa without widespread and numerous outages for years.

Alongside increasing its share of renewable energy, BESS additions like these are being brought in to shore up resiliency and reduce costs.

Browse the full-length RFP document for the two BESS projects, from Eskom’s website, below.

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