Cape Town – In a move that could prove crucial to the country’s post Covid-19 recovery, Eskom has floated a tender for a battery energy storage system (BESS) with a minimum of 80MW/320MWh usable capacity at the Skaapvlei substation, in Vredendal, where its 100MW Sere wind farm is located.
The plan is seen as part of plans to diversify the country’s energy mix in a move away from coal, which is used for about 85% of the country’s power generation. Eskom is specifically considering green funding to offset debt and to re-purpose coal plants.
Managing director at Africa Energy Indaba, Liz Hart, said clean energy and the innovative technologies that accompany it, represent a critical catalyst for the continent’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, ultimately making a prominent mark on Africa’s energy sector in a post Covid world.
“The renewable sector is proving its resilience in the midst of a crisis, further reinforcing the case for economic recovery strategies to be accentuated by investments in the sustainable energy sphere.
“In addition, involving renewable technologies in the energy mix ensures a more flexible and reliable energy generation system. Rapid progression in increasingly more affordable storage technologies has enabled renewable energy units to become progressively more reliable,” said Hart.
“On account of their decentralised nature, renewable projects and low-carbon technologies foster greater community inclusion than their fossil fuel counterparts, while simultaneously increasing the resilience of the energy system, providing a solution that incorporates economic recovery with a decline in emissions.”
In tender documents Eskom, which expects to award the contract later this year said: “We have received financing for the project from the World Bank, as well as the African Development Bank and New Development Bank.
“The Skaapvlei project represents Eskom’s first large-scale BESS project, within a bigger BESS roll-out.”
Eskom has invited sealed bids from eligible bidders and given seven months (extendible to a maximum of nine months) for the design, supply, installation, and commissioning of the BESS with a minimum of 80MW/320MWh of usable capacity.
“The last date for the submission of bids is September 11.
“Bids should be sent to the attention of Pitso Mokheti, Eskom’s procurement manager,” Eskom said.
This follows Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy’s proposals at the end of July to expedite the development of strategically important energy infrastructure.
Creecy’s proposals at a briefing ahead of her department’s R8.2-billion budget vote, made a direct link between the government’s proposed designation of Renewable Energy Development Zones (REDZs) and transition to a low-carbon, nature-positive economy.