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Eskom’s Bess project for renewable energy storage pushes ahead

Home Infrastructure Energy – Power Generation Eskom’s Bess project for renewable energy storage pushes ahead

ESKOM’S large-scale battery energy storage project, which involves installation of battery energy storage systems (Bess) at seven sites, is intended to lower electricity costs, increase system reliability and integrate higher shares of renewable energy into the grid. It will also lessen Eskom’s reliance on fossil fuels.

In October 2021, engineering and designs services company, WSP, was appointed as the engineer for Eskom’s Bess project located at several distribution sites in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal.

The project is divided into three packages across the seven Eskom distribution sites, including:

  • The first package at Skaapvlei substation in the Western Cape, which entails the design, supply, and installation, and commissioning of Bess for a minimum of 80MW/320 MWh usable capacity.
  • The second package focuses on the Melkhout in the Eastern Cape, and Pongola and Elandskop substations in KwaZulu-Natal for a minimum of 35MW/140MWh at Melkhout, 40MW/160MWh at Pongola, and 8MW/32MWh at Elandskop.
  • The third package is for the Paleisheuwel, Graafwater, and Hex substations in the Western Cape. It is for a minimum of 10MW/40MWh at Paleisheuwel, 4.5MW/25MWh and Graafwate, and 20MW/100MWh at Hex. All the packages include five years of operations and maintenance.

WSP is responsible for providing assurance on engineering design, construction supervision, and project management for the project. It will also supply the professional engineering services to review the deliverables provided by Eskom and other third parties to integrate and co-ordinate the overall engineering.

WSP will continually analyse the technical specifications, perform the technical evaluation of tenders, and provide professional assistance for the procurement of the packages identified for the project.

During the construction phase of the project, WSP will act as the engineer on behalf of Eskom and will monitor plant and equipment manufacturing as well as monitor and inspect the construction, commissioning, and testing of the contracted works of the contractors and their sub-contractors in providing, installing, and setting to work the project.

Acting on behalf of Eskom as its Engineer, WSP will be authorised to communicate with the EPC contractor for clarification and seeking resolution of technical issues.

Instrumental guidance

As part of the detail design process, WSP will perform a HAZOP analysis to identify potential hazards and operability problems caused by deviations from the design baselines.

“The HAZOP analysis is used to evaluate the design for possible flaws or undesirable effects and interactions with vendor designs. Together with the LSA process, this will ensure that potential failures are identified and eliminated during the detail design process,” says Dinesh Buldoo, Director: Power, WSP in Africa.

WSP will also oversee the construction phase of the project, which will include all tasks from the design and engineering activities to the handover from the EPC contractors to Eskom. The purpose of this stage is to check that the EPC contractors will provide a quality service as per the EPC contract within the stipulated budget and time frames.

“Our extensive international experience and successful history when it comes to Bess deployments and applications made WSP the logical partner for Eskom. As part of this, WSP will assist Eskom in maintaining a complete set of project plans and drawings throughout the construction, start-up, testing, and initial operation of the project. We will review the project’s design, perform construction, and site management services on behalf of Eskom during the construction phase,” adds Buldoo.

Complete oversight

During the project, WSP will witness the start-up, commissioning, and performance test procedures. It will verify the start-up, commissioning, performance, reliability, and dependable capacity testing of the facilities and provide comments to Eskom with respect to the EPC contractor’s performance, reliability, and plant dependable capacity tests.

WSP will also develop a detailed engineering schedule that integrates with the overall project implementation schedule, and which supports the construction and commissioning plan.

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