Worcester, Western Cape — In an ambitious move to combat persistent load shedding, Eskom’s newly launched Hex Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) in Worcester could herald a new dawn for South Africa’s energy woes, according to Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.
A Beacon of Innovation:
- Pioneering Project: Minister Gordhan lauded the Hex BESS initiative during its launch at the Hex substation, marking it as Africa’s inaugural project of this nature.
- Promise of Progress: The minister conveyed optimism, asserting that initiatives like Hex BESS are pivotal in propelling the country past the hurdles of load shedding.
Eskom’s Leap Forward:
- Urgency and Innovation: The state utility has been praised for its newfound dynamism and inventive spirit in delivering the BESS project, showcasing the potential to revolutionize the country’s energy landscape.
- Nationwide Rollout: The Hex substation is just the beginning, with Eskom planning to replicate BESS across various provinces, augmenting the Just Energy Transition (JET) programme.
Economic and Social Upsurge:
- Economic Renaissance: These projects are expected to usher in increased investment, economic growth, and job creation, offering a brighter future for South Africa’s youth.
- Innovation Showcase: South Africa aims to prove its prowess in delivering world-class, innovative energy solutions on a global stage.
For the People, By the People:
- National Benefit: Emphasizing a people-centric approach, Minister Gordhan highlighted the need for such projects to serve the wider South African population, rather than a handful of individuals.
- Census Connection: Reflecting on recent Census data, the minister underscored the importance of 62 million South Africans benefiting from these developmental strides.
Government’s Energy Vision:
- Securing Surplus: The goal is not just to meet current energy needs but to create a surplus, akin to a savings account, to ensure energy security for unforeseen demands.
- Eskom’s Crucial Role: The utility is expected to be a central figure in accumulating this surplus, with private sector investment playing a key role in the expansion of renewables and other energy forms.
- Cost and Employment: The installation of 120 battery banks cost R830 million, and the project employed 255 local residents during construction, emphasizing community involvement and benefit.
- Learning and Replication: The minister urged for the lessons from the Hex project to be applied to future undertakings in other provinces, aiming for even greater success.
Acknowledgments and Appreciation:
- Funding and Collaboration: The minister expressed gratitude to international lenders like the World Bank and the African Development Bank for their crucial financial support, which made the Hex BESS project viable.
- Technical Partnerships: Acknowledgments were also extended to Hyosung Heavy Industries for supplying the batteries and to the Eskom team for their innovative approach from conception to research.
As South Africa grapples with energy challenges, the Hex BESS project stands as a testament to the country’s commitment to renewable energy and sustainable solutions, painting a hopeful picture for an electrified future.