Globeleq to build Africa’s largest standalone battery energy storage system in South Africa

UK company Globeleq, the leading independent power company in Africa, today announced that its Red Sands project in the Northern Cape has been awarded Preferred Bidder status in South Africa’s Energy Storage Capacity Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (ESIPPPP). Globeleq is majority-owned by British International Investment (BII), the Development Finance Institution of the UK Government.

Battery storage is an essential enabler of renewable-energy generation, and the market for these systems is growing rapidly in South Africa and worldwide as a means of resolving energy crises and tackling climate change. These systems provide reliable power supply on demand, even when the energy grid is unstable, overcoming the challenges of intermittent wind and solar sources. They store energy at times of excess generation so that it can be released into the grid when generation falls short of demand, helping to mitigate the need for load-shedding.

Experts say that widespread energy storage is vital to expanding the reach of renewables and speeding the transition to a carbon-free power grid – this is key to helping reduce South Africa’s reliance on fossil fuels as it seeks to transition to clean energy. This R5.7 billion (US$300 million) investment therefore represents a flagship project financed by the UK as part of its commitment under the Just Energy Transition Partnership agreed at COP26.

The Red Sands project is in the Northern Cape, about 100km southeast of Upington, and was originally developed by African Green Ventures, a South African renewable project development company owned by Norwegian based energy firm Magnora ASA. The project will cover approximately 5 hectares (12 acres) and will connect to the grid through the Eskom Garona substation. The substation will be upgraded by the Red Sands project to ensure that full network support capabilities of the project’s batteries can be utilised.

Working closely with leading global battery and balance-of-plant suppliers, Globeleq estimates that the project will require an investment of approximately US$300 million and will take 24 months to construct after financial close, which is expected in 2024.

Globeleq is the largest independent power produce in Africa, providing nearly 1,800 MW of energy in South Africa, Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt and Cameroon. Globeleq is a UK company based in London and backed entirely with Official Development Assistance (UK aid).

Red Sands will be Globeleq’s first Battery Energy Storage Solutions (BESS) project in South Africa but the Group owns and operates a combined solar and BESS plant at Cuamba in Mozambique, and is developing BESS projects across the African continent. Globeleq also owns and operates 8 renewable plants (6 solar PV, 2 wind) in South Africa with a total generating capacity of 384 MW.

Mike Scholey, Globeleq’s CEO commented:

“I am delighted that we have received Preferred Bidder status for this very important project, and I look forward to working with the government and our partners to take Red Sands to financial close and into operations. Electricity storage is going to be key not only in helping South Africa meet its considerable industrial and domestic demand for energy but also across Africa as more renewable energy projects benefit from the advances our industry has made with BESS technology.”

British High Commissioner to South Africa, Antony Phillipson said:

“This is a significant investment in South Africa’s future. The UK is proud to play such a vital role in helping to tackle the energy crisis with new technology that will bring power supply stability and most importantly support South Africa’s ambition to reduce carbon emissions.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of British High Commission Pretoria.

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