South Africa’s Eskom opens tender for 80MW / 320MWh battery storage

Sere Wind Farm in Western Cape, where the substation set to host the battery project is located, achieved commercial operation in 2015. Image: Eskom.

Eskom, the state-owned electricity utility of South Africa, has begun tendering for a battery energy storage system (BESS) of minimum size and capacity 80MW / 320MWh.

The utility issued a procurement notice at the end of July requesting bids for the Eskom Investment Support Project and Eskom Renewables Support Project. The twin project calls for interested parties to design, engineer, supply, construct, test and commission a battery energy storage system “with a minimum of 80MW / 320MWh usable capacity”.

The winning bidder will also be responsible for providing five years of operations and maintenance (O&M) services for the project, to be built at Skaapvlei Substation, in the town of Vredendal in the Republic of South Africa’s Western Cape province.

Eskom would like the development process to be complete within nine months for the project, for which the utility has received financing from the World Bank, African Development Bank and New Development Bank. Funds received will be used directly to pay for the BESS’ deployment.

Sealed bids are being invited, with Eskom using international competitive procurement processes using Request for Bids – this is in line with World Bank requirements for borrowing funding. The Skaapvlei substation is near the 100MW grid-connected Sere Wind Farm and an initial site meeting is being held at that wind farm on 20 August. The bidding process closes in September.

The project looks to be an important step towards Eskom meeting a 1,400MWh energy storage target set out by the utility in a 2018 long-term resource plan to add system reliability as well as integrate renewable energy facilities onto the grid. 

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