Large scale energy storage test and demonstration facility launched

June 9th, 2017, Published in Articles: EE Publishers, Articles: Energize


Eskom’s Research Testing & Development (RTD) department has established a battery test and demonstration facility at its Research and Innovation Centre in Rosherville.

The objective of this facility is to compare different technologies and supplier products under identical conditions and to identify which of these products is suitable for Eskom’s future needs for energy storage. These needs have been primarily defined as grid strengthening and for the integration of renewable energy sources into the grid.

The power utility says that research has shown that storage helps with the integration of renewable energy supplied by independent power producers (IPPs) being fed into the grid. This is due to the almost instantaneous variations in the quantum of this supply based on the variations in solar and wind resources.

Internationally, the need for energy storage to smooth the output of wind and solar farms is being recognised, and based on this, as much as 2000 MW is expected to be required to accommodate the up to 18 000 MW of renewable generation included in South Africa’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP2010).

Additionally, the timing of production from solar power added to the grid is such that Eskom will need to provide additional peak power generation, or load shift the energy produced into times when the sun is not shining. Another key use of energy storage is to help the utility’s distribution and transmission department to strengthen its infrastructure and defer capital expenditure as well as to provide voltage and frequency support.

The facility has two systems installed: a 200 kW, 1 MWh unit supplied by AfriDevo (based on a Li-ion battery manufactured by BYD of China) and a General Electric unit, which is a version of the Zebra battery previously tested for electric vehicles, and which is based on a sodium nickel chloride (Na-NiCl2) battery.

A control and data monitoring system has been installed to allow for the battery systems to be controlled, charged and discharged by the grid, and provide simulation opportunities. There is space for more units.

Contact Khulu Phasiwe, Eskom, Tel 011 800-3304,



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