Use South Africa’s 5 000 MW Energy Storage Need To Create New Industry – Bushveld

South Africa’s 5 000 MW renewable energy storage requirement is seen as providing the critical mass for the creation of a new local energy storage industry that will have the potential to export into the growing global market for energy storage solutions.
A new own-value-chain local industry is feasible owing to South Africa’s resource base, processing infrastructure and high upcoming local demand.
The head of the London Aim-listed Bushveld sees a mix of short- and long-duration energy storage viably meeting the 5 000-MW-in-three-years challenge set by the National Planning Commission – and highlights vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFBs) as being ideal for long-duration electricity storage.
Long-duration batteries support the integration of renewable energy into electricity grids and Mojapelo sees upcoming energy storage demand as providing a generational opportunity that South Africa should not miss.
On energy storage being the flexible renewable energy enabler, he notes that sun shines at its brightest during off-peak periods “and, ideally, you want to be storing that energy and using it during peak periods when you’re running those diesel generators, which are quite expensive.
“Similarly, if you look at wind generation, its peak generation capacity is during off-peak windows from a demand perspective.
“Pair that with long-duration energy storage, and you can deploy this power flexibly into the time zones when you need it the most.
“Overall, by doing that, you’re improving the efficiency of the grid and enhancing the contribution of renewable energy to the grid,” Mojapelo points out.
To meet emerging demand, Bushveld has positioned itself for broad-based involvement through its far-reaching vertical integration model, with its downstream business including the construction of an electrolyte manufacturing plant in East London, the development of a hybrid minigrid at its Vametco vanadium processing plant in Brits, and investment into VRFB manufacturing. The company also has the primary vanadium-processing Vanchem facility in Mpumalanga.
The minigrid will use locally mined and beneficiated vanadium, demonstrating how vanadium battery energy solutions can provide more local value for South Africa than any other storage technology and thus underpin a just energy transition in South Africa. The project’s total cost is estimated at R113-million ($7.1-million).
The minigrid project is serving as a renewable energy, VRFB reference site.