November 8, 2021 Read More →

African Development Bank to help fund battery storage project in South Africa

Energy Storage News:

A US$57.67 million loan towards the development cost of large-scale battery energy storage system (BESS) projects will be made to South Africa’s public electricity utility Eskom by the African Development Bank.

The bank’s board of directors said last week that the loan has been approved, assisting the development of 200MW of four-hour duration battery storage (800MWh) at seven sites in the country. They will be constructed in South Africa’s Western Cape, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.

The African Development Bank financing will be a concessional loan coming from a US$5.4 billion multi-donor trust fund called the Clean Technology Fund, part of its Climate Investment Funds. The overall Battery Energy Storage Systems Project is being financed together with the World Bank and New Development Bank.

The battery systems will help increase the regions’ usable share of electricity generated from renewable energy sources. In particular, renewable energy that would otherwise be wasted or curtailed as surplus during times of over-generation will be stored and dispatched at peak times. The African Development Bank said this would reduce reliance on fossil fuels at those peak times.

Eskom, which is state-owned and provides about 95% of South Africa’s electricity, has said it expects 30GW of new generation capacity to be added in the country by 2031, mainly from solar PV and wind. This would increase the national share of renewables to more than 40%. It has identified the need for several gigawatts of energy storage to integrate this new capacity and stabilise the system.

The utility has also been in financial trouble over the past few years which it is working to turn around. There have been energy shortfalls caused largely by an ageing fleet of mostly coal-fired power plants which as recently as earlier this week led Eskom to ask the public to use electricity sparingly, with over 17GW of breakdowns and more than 3GW of planned maintenance taking generation capacity offline. 

[Andy Colthorpe]

More: African Development Bank grants loan towards 800MWh of battery storage in South Africa

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