Eskom and Hyosung Heavy Industries, one of the appointed service providers for the Eskom Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) project, unveiled the first of its kind largest battery storage project not only in South Africa but on the African continent.
Eskom Hyosung officially opened the Hex BESS site at Worcester in the Western Cape today. 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. The BESS project serves as a direct response to address the urgent need of South Africa's electricity crisis by adding more generation capacity to the grid. It will also strengthen the grid by adding more storage and transforming capacity while diversifying the existing generation energy mix. It is equipped with large-scale utility batteries with a capacity of 1440 MWh and 60 MW PV capacity.
The Hex site is specifically designed to store 100 MWh of energy, sufficient to power a town the size of Mossel Bay or Howick for about five hours. It is part of Phase 1 of Eskom’s BESS project which includes the installation of approximately 199 MW additional capacity, with 833 MWh storage of distributed battery storage plants at eight Eskom distribution substation sites around the country in KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Western Cape, and Northern Cape. This phase also includes about 2MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity.
“The Hex project is a clear demonstration of how public-private partnership can find alternative, innovative and lasting solutions to address the country’s electricity challenges. We are grateful to the various funders of the Eskom BESS project, and to our construction partner Hyosung Heavy Industries,” remarked Eskom’s Group Executive for Distribution, Monde Bala.
The BESS technology offers a versatile solution for improving overall grid performance and is aligned with South Africa’s commitment to transition to a more resilient and sustainable energy future.
Phase 2 of the project includes the installation of a further 144MW of storage capacity, equivalent to 616 MWh at four Eskom distribution sites and one transmission site. The solar PV capacity in this phase will be 58 MW.
“We are pioneering the implementation of the BESS technology, serving as a large-scale commercial project to validate the technology's feasibility and benefits. The successful implementation will pave the way for wider adoption and possible export of the technology to other regions beyond the borders of South Africa,” concludes Velaphi Ntuli, Eskom’s General Manager for distribution operations enablement.