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Globeleq says R5.7bn Red Sands will be largest standalone battery storage project in Africa

Globeleq CEO Mike Scholey

Globeleq CEO Mike Scholey

5th April 2024

By: Terence Creamer

Creamer Media Editor


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Leading African independent power producer Globeleq says the 153 MW/612 MWh Red Sands project, which was recently awarded preferred bidder status under South Africa’s inaugural battery storage public procurement round, will be the largest standalone battery energy storage system (BESS) in Africa and will carry an investment value of R5.7-billion.

It is smaller than the 225 MW/1 140 MWh BESS deployed at Scatec’s Kenhardt project, also in the Northern Cape. However,  Kenhardt is a hybrid solar-battery project developed under the separate Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which requires the plant to produce 150 MW of dispatchable electricity daily from 5:00 until 21:30.

The Red Sands project was originally developed by African Green Ventures, which Globeleq acquired last year from Magnora, a Norwegian company listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange.

Located about 100 km southeast of Upington, the lithium-ion battery project will be constructed on a 5 ha site and will connect to the grid through the Eskom Garona substation, which Globeleq says will be upgraded by Red Sands to ensure that full network support capabilities of the batteries can be utilised.

Red Sands was not initially named as a preferred bidder on November 30, when Minerals Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe announced the first four preferred projects selected following Bid Window One (BW1) of South Africa’s Battery Energy Storage Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (BESIPPPP).

However, Mantashe also announced that “value for money” negotiations were under way with a fifth bidder with the aim of having the bid window’s full 513 MW/2 025 MWh allocation assigned to independent power producers across the five Northern Cape substations selected by Eskom.

The four projects identified were the 103 MW Oasis Nieuwehoop and 77 MW apiece Oasis Aggeneis and Oasis Mookodi projects, bid by an EDF Renewables-led consortium and the 103 MW Scatec-led Mogobe, located at the Ferrum substation.

On March 28, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) announced that negotiations with a fifth bidder had been concluded and that the Red Sands project had been selected as a preferred bidder for development at the fifth substation selected for the round, which was launched in March 2023.

Globeleq CEO Mike Scholey expressed delight at Red Sands having received preferred-bidder status and said the company looked forward to working with government to advance the project to financial close and into operation.

Globeleq says the project will take 24 months to construct after financial close, which is expected later this year.

“Electricity storage is going to be key not only in helping South Africa meet its considerable industrial and domestic demand for energy but also in meeting growing demand right across Africa as more and more renewable energy projects benefit from the advances our industry has made with battery storage technology,” Scholey said.

Red Sands will be Globeleq’s first large-scale BESS project in South Africa where the group also owns and operates six solar photovoltaic plants and two wind farms with a total generating capacity of 384 MW.

The company, which is owned 70% by British International Investment and 30% by Norfund, also owns a combined solar and BESS plant at Cuamba in Mozambique and is developing other BESS projects across the African continent.

Meanwhile, the DMRE recently launched a request for proposals for BESIPPPP BW3, which has a 616 MW/2 464 MWh allocation across five pre-selected substation sites in the Free State.

A bid submission deadline of July 31 has been set after the deadline for BESIPPPP BW2, which was launched in December for sites in the North West province, was extended from April 30 to June 6.


Edited by Creamer Media Reporter


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