DMRE expands battery energy storage capacity with 616MW procurement in Free State

Power lines near Du Noon in the Western Cape. File Picture: Henk Kruger / Independent Newspapers

Power lines near Du Noon in the Western Cape. File Picture: Henk Kruger / Independent Newspapers

Published Apr 8, 2024


In a bid to strengthen its energy storage capabilities, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) has announced the launch of the third bid window for battery energy storage projects, targeting the procurement of 616MW at five sites across the Free State.

Identified by Eskom, these substations – located at Harvard, Leander, Theseus, Everest, and Merapi – are slated to bolster the region's energy resilience and support the integration of renewable energy sources into the grid.

According to the DMRE, this latest procurement initiative marks the government's continued commitment to expanding battery energy storage infrastructure, following the success of previous bidding rounds.

Notably, the second bid window, launched in December last year, saw the government seeking to procure 615 MW of capacity across eight substations in the North West province.

The deadline for proposals for this window has been extended to accommodate bidders' preparation timelines and Eskom's processing requirements.

The DMRE’s continued expansion into battery energy storage gained traction with the launch of its inaugural procurement round in March 2023, which culminated in the selection of preferred bidders Scatec and EDF. These projects collectively represent over R10 billion in investment.

French utility EDF and Norwegian-headquartered Scatec Africa emerged as key players in the first round, with EDF slated to develop three projects in the Northern Cape and North West provinces, while Scatec Africa secured a 103 MW project in the North West.

In addition to advancing battery energy storage procurement, the government is also extending its renewable energy procurement efforts through Bid Window 7 of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme.