Eskom, South Africa’s power utility firm, has unveiled what could be the largest Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) project on the African continent.
In a statement, Eskom said the Hex BESS is the first project to be completed under Eskom’s flagship BESS project announced in July 2022 to help alleviate the pressure on the national electricity grid.
Eskom noted that the BESS project serves as a direct response to meet one of the urgent needs to address South Africa’s long-running electricity crisis by adding more storage capacity to strengthen the grid while diversifying the existing generation energy mix.
Energy News Africa reports that the facility uses large-scale utility batteries with a total capacity of 1440MWh per day and a 60MW PV capacity.
According to Eskom, the Hex site is designed to store 100MWh of energy, enough to power a town such as Mossel Bay or Howick for about five hours.
It forms part of Phase 1 of Eskom’s BESS project which includes the installation of approximately 833MWh additional storage capacity at eight Eskom Distribution substation sites in KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Northern Cape. This phase also includes about 2MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity.
Eskom’s group executive for distribution, Monde Bala said “We are grateful to the various funders of the Eskom BESS project, and to our construction partner Hyosung Heavy Industries. This is proof of what we can achieve when we work as a team and in collaboration with industry and local communities.”
The utility explains that the BESS technology offers a versatile solution for improving overall grid performance and is in line with South Africa’s commitment to the just energy transition to a more resilient and sustainable energy future.
Eskom notes that upon completion of the first phase, it will implement phase two of the project which includes the installation of a further 144MW of storage capacity, equivalent to 616MWh at four Eskom distribution sites and one transmission site, adding that the solar PV capacity in this phase will be 58MW.