Eskom to Deploy Distributed Battery Energy Storage Technology

  • South Africa’s Energy Minister confirmed that Eskom has embarked on a process for the large-scale deployment of distributed battery energy storage over the next three years.
  • Industry development and deployment of energy storage systems in South Africa include taking a value chain approach to localisation.
  • South Africa further has high-quality minerals and industrial capability that can be used for battery chemistries, beneficiation and manufacturing, both locally and abroad, for domestic use and export markets.

Speaking at the Renewable Energy and Energy Storage Systems Conference  hosted by the World Bank Group in Cape Town earlier today, South Africa’s Energy Minister confirmed that Eskom has embarked on a process for the large-scale deployment of distributed battery energy storage over the next three years.

The programme will be implemented in two phases for up to 1 440 MWh of energy storage capacity in total, with the request for proposals for the first phase of 200 MW to be released to the market by mid-2019.

The minster elaborated that cost effective and technically advanced energy storage systems are one of the key ingredients to enabling a renewable energy future. “Their development, uptake and implementation are therefore necessary and unavoidable,” he said.

He added that the value chain needs to be exploited. “South Africa further has high-quality minerals and industrial capability that can be used for battery chemistries, beneficiation and manufacturing, both locally and abroad, for domestic use and export markets. Some partnerships have already been formed between government, business, development finance and academic institutions to develop and commercialise battery energy storage systems in South Africa”.

“Important aspects that need to be addressed to accelerate the uptake, industry development and deployment of energy storage systems in South Africa include taking a value chain approach to localisation, creating the required technical expertise, designing practical regulations, establishing energy storage standards and incorporating energy storage systems in long-term least-cost electricity system planning”.

The minster concluded by stressing the challenge of embracing energy storage technology. “It requires practical, forward and innovative thinking and collaborative efforts among all stakeholders. In the words of Albert Einstein, “we can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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