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Eskom Begins a Significant Battery Storage Project

In Worcester, Western Cape, Eskom has initiated the first phase of its Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) at the Hex substation.

According to the design specifications, the Hex substation system can store 100MWh of energy, which is sufficient to power a small town like Mossel Bay for five hours (20MW x 5hr).

According to Eskom, the total BESS project is around 343MW, or 1,440MWh of daily capacity.

A 60 MW photovoltaic solar system is also part of it.

According to Eskom, “250 residents of the greater Worcester area were employed during the construction of the Hex BESS site.”

“Hyosung Heavy Industries and local subcontractors construct the overall project, which is co-financed by the African Development Bank, the New Development Bank, the World Bank, and the Clean Technology Fund.”

When Eskom first revealed its BESS project in July of last year, it was stated that it would be put at a number of locations around KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape, the Western Cape, and the Northern Cape provinces.

December 2022 saw the site’s groundbreaking with partner Hyosung Heavy Industries in the KwaZulu-Natal towns of Msunduzi and Impendile.

The electricity provider had originally projected that Phase 1 of the project would be finished by June 30, 2023, and Phase 2 would be put into service by December 2024.

Both stages, though, were behind schedule.

The power utility stated that Phase 1’s 8MW capacity is equal to 32MWh of distributed electricity, or enough to run a town the size of Howick for up to four hours.

Furthermore, it will strengthen the electricity grid and help Eskom handle evening peak demand.

The Elandskop facility is simply a portion of the first phase of the BESS project, which will add eighteen Eskom Distribution substation locations with a total of 833MWh of storage, adding around 199MW of additional capacity.

This includes a solar production capacity of about 2 MW.

During the second phase, Eskom will dramatically increase the solar generation capacity to 58MW.

According to Netwerk24, the World Bank is willing to fund more systems similar to the Hex substation BESS system.

Asmeen Khan, the World Bank’s operations manager for Southern Africa, was quoted as suggesting that South Africa could be able to obtain private sector finance through similar concessionary lending.

According to Khan, the World Bank provided financial support for the first 200 MW of the project, which is located across the country, and the second phase, which is a 144 MW facility that will be built at the former Komati coal power station in Mpumalanga.

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