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Eskom embraces distributed battery energy storage

South Africa’s energy minister, Jeff Radebe, confirmed that Eskom has embarked on a process for the large-scale deployment of distributed battery energy storage over the next three years.

The minister was speaking at the Renewable Energy and Energy Storage Systems Conference hosted by the World Bank Group in Cape Town this week.

The programme will be implemented in two phases for up to 1,440MWh of energy storage capacity in total, with the request for proposals for the first phase of 200MW to be released to the market by mid-2019.

The minster elaborated that cost-effective and technically advanced energy storage systems are one of the key ingredients to enabling a renewable energy future. Read more: SA Energy Minister demistyfies the coal vs. renewables debate

“Their development, uptake and implementation are therefore necessary and unavoidable,” said Radebe, adding that the value chain needs to be exploited.

Commercialise battery energy storage systems

The minister said: “South Africa further has high-quality minerals and industrial capability that can be used for battery chemistries, beneficiation and manufacturing, both locally and abroad, for domestic use and export markets. Some partnerships have already been formed between government, business, development finance and academic institutions to develop and commercialise battery energy storage systems in South Africa.

“Important aspects that need to be addressed to accelerate the uptake, industry development and deployment of energy storage systems in South Africa include taking a value chain approach to localisation, creating the required technical expertise, designing practical regulations, establishing energy storage standards and incorporating energy storage systems in long-term least-cost electricity system planning”.

Radebe concluded by stressing the challenge of embracing energy storage technology.

“It requires practical, forward and innovative thinking and collaborative efforts among all stakeholders. In the words of Albert Einstein, “we can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

This article was originally published on Green Building Africa and is republished with permission with minor editorial changes.

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