The South African Government’s Department of Mineral Resources and Energy recently announced four projects out of 17 were selected to be developed as part of the first round of the Battery Energy Storage Independent Power Procurement Programme (BESIPPPP).
Projects belonging to two developers have now started construction in various locations in the country’s largest and most sparsely populated region, the Northern Cape.
French utility EDF will develop 257 MW of battery energy-storage systems across three locations. The programs consist of the 77 MW Oasis Aggeneis project near the Aggeneis substation, the 77 MW Oasis Mookodi project near the northwest Mookodi substation and the 103 MW Oasis Nieuwehoop project near the Nieuwehoop substation. Scatec Africa, a unit of Norwegian renewable energy company Scatec, will develop one 103 MW project titled Mogobe BESS near the Ferrum substation.
The South African Government said in the press release an “additional eligible” bidder may be appointed to the Northern Cape Gorana substation once the “value for money negotiation has concluded.” All projects are expected to reach commercial close by May 2024.
The South African government said EDF and Scatec Africa will spend over ZAR4.4 billion ($235 million) on preferential treatment for Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) and black enterprises, with a commitment to give black women 10% to 32% of project shares. The companies have also committed to 15-year development initiatives, according to the announcement.
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Announced in March 2023, the BESIPPP program is aimed at increasing the grid capacity in the Northern Cape supply area through energy storage. In February this year, South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa declared a state of disaster to deal with the country’s acute energy crisis, which has led to chronic blackouts and load-shedding.
South Africa is powered mostly by coal and gas, with the International Energy Agency saying these traditional fossil fuels account for 85% of the country’s current energy mix. South Africa had 5,826 MW estimated installed PV capacity at the end of last year, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.
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