Public Enterprises minister, Pravin Gordhan, says that government will soon sign off on a major new battery storage project.
Presenting in parliament on Wednesday (2o November), Gordhan said that the project was “world-class” and was currently awaiting final approvals.
Eskom’s GM for power delivery engineering, Prince Moyo, has previously said that the 1.4 gigawatt-hours battery storage project will consist of supplying, installing and operating distributed battery storage infrastructure at Eskom sub-stations across the country. He added that the project will be completed in two phases.
The first phase will consist of eight sites that will focus on batteries with 200 megawatts/800 megawatt-hours of capacity to be built by December 2020.
The second phase will consist of 10 sites (or less) 160 megawatts/640 megawatt-hours of capacity by December 2021.
“Battery storage installations will assist in various ways, amongst them capital expenditure deferral on distribution networks, storing energy for discharge at peak times and frequency support,” Eskom said in response to emailed questions.
“We do not have a specific date regarding when the tender will be released but it will be after Eskom has received all statutory approvals from authorities and support from our funding partners. This is imminent,” it said.
It added that it has already partnered with the World Bank Group and other funders to help finance the project.
The confirmation of the new Eskom project comes just after the embattled power utility announced new chief executive officer Andre de Ruyter.
De Ruyter is currently CEO at Nampak, the continent’s largest packaging company.
A holder of various qualifications, including an LLB and MBA, public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan said that de Ruyter is an accomplished CEO with deep and wide experiences in creating and managing highly-performing businesses.
“He spent more than 20 years with petrochemicals group Sasol in a number of senior management roles that gave him significant global exposure in the energy and chemicals industries. His portfolio included overseeing work in the US, Nigeria, Angola, Mozambique, Germany and China.
“I would like to thank Mr de Ruyter for not only accepting this position at a difficult time for Eskom, but, given Eskom current financial situation, also agreeing to a lower compensation package than the position currently pays,” Gordhan said.
He will work with the Eskom board, management and the government to spearhead the re-organisation of Eskom, which includes the separation of Eskom into three entities: generation, transmission and distribution, as well as the creation of Eskom Holdings.