Eskom close to sealing deals for massive battery storage system

Eskom is close to concluding agreements with suppliers to provide around 1.4GWh of battery energy storage.

During its State of the System briefing on Thursday, the utility revealed the tender for Phase 1 of its Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) project had closed, and the management had finished considering the bids.

Eskom COO Jan Oberholzer told MyBroadband they recommended three suppliers to the board, which were approved.

The utility has now completed pre-contract award discussions with the successful bidders and provided them with draft contract documents.

Oberholzer stated that one of the bidders had already signed on to the project, while Eskom was awaiting sign-off from the other two.

He also said he would consult with the project’s team leader regarding releasing the names of the providers once all the respective contracts had been signed.

Eskom subsequently told MyBroadband it would reveal the names of the suppliers before the end of May 2022.

The batteries from the project will be installed at Eskom’s substations, including those at its renewable energy power stations, to hold and release energy as required.

Battery storage is considered a crucial component to supplement renewable energy generation.

While coal, gas, and nuclear power plants can generate electricity under nearly any environmental conditions, solar and wind power fluctuate naturally.

Having storage that can capture excess energy at peak generation for discharge during peak demand can increase the potential contribution these energy sources can make to South Africa’s overall energy needs.

Eskom is planning for its BESS to have a total output power capacity of 344MW, with between 1,376MWh to 1,440MWh of storage to provide four hours of supply at peak.

The first phase will see 200MW output power and 833MWh of storage procured.

They will form part of Eskom’s flagship battery energy storage system, covering 90 sites in the coastal provinces of the Western Cape, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal.

Eskom CEO André de Ruyter previously said that the investment would be worth around R14 billion.

MyBroadband calculated it was possible to procure 1,000 Tesla Megapack batteries with an output of 770MW and storage of 3,080MWh for less than that price.

Alternatively, Eskom could use its original configuration and get 447 Megapacks for less than half of its planned spending on the project.

Now read: South Africa could get load-shedding at short notice — Eskom

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Eskom close to sealing deals for massive battery storage system