Electricity and Control March 2023


Locally manufactured electrical equipment for BESS projects

Last year (2022) Eskom launched the first phase of its two-phase battery energy storage system (BESS) pro gramme with its appointment of two international compa nies to oversee the design, execution and management of the programme. Moving forward, the companies, Hyosung Heavy Industries of South Korea and Pinggao Group of China, appointed local engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors to execute the BESS projects for the initial phase, which Eskom characterises as the ‘proof of concept’ phase. This was followed by the EPC contractors awarding contracts to local manufacturers and service providers to provide the equipment and services required for the projects. For the BESS programme the government has lifted many of the restrictive local content requirements that standardly apply to state-driven capital projects – as they do, for example, in the national Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme. Steve Jordaan, Divisional CEO of ACTOM Power Transformers, noted: “The relaxation of the local con tent requirements opens the door to suppliers from other parts of the world to participate in the BESS projects, in creasing the level of competition that local suppliers have to face. As a local manufacturer, we understand that we cannot rely on protectionism and need to compete on a global platform and we have structured our manufactur ing operations and product offerings accordingly. “The initial BESS projects have unusually short time lines to completion of works,” Jordaan added, “and this was to the advantage of local suppliers already in good standing with Eskom and with already approved prod ucts; they were saved from the time-consuming design and approval processes which many overseas suppliers would be obliged to go through. The developers, EPC contractors and in turn, the client, have the added ben efit of local support for the product over the life of the project,” he said. These advantages apply to all the ACTOM Transmis sion & Distribution divisions that have been awarded con tracts to manufacture and supply electrical equipment for the BESS projects: Power Transformers, MV Switchgear, High Voltage Equipment and Distribution Transformers.

An ACTOM Power Transformers 40 MVA Class 1 power distribution transformer in a substation. Power transformers In early September 2022, Power Transformers was awarded a contract for the manufacture and supply of three 40 MVA power transformers for the 132 kV/22 kV collector substation currently under construction for the 80 MW Skaapvlei project in the Western Cape – the big gest of the BESS projects being undertaken by Pinggao in the current phase. The EPC contractor for Skaapvlei is Midrand-based Proconics. Jordaan noted, “The transformers for Skaapvlei are repeat designs of units we’ve previously produced for Eskom. This means we have not had to design and ob tain design signoffs on them, helping significantly in en abling us to manufacture and supply them within the ex ceptionally short contract period of only seven months.” MV switchgear The MV Switchgear division was awarded contracts in June and July of last year for the manufacture and supply of medium voltage primary switchgear and ring main units for the collector substations of three BESS projects being developed under Hyosung’s overall control. These are the 40 MW Pongola and 8 MW Elandskop projects in KwaZulu-Natal and the 20 MW Hex project in the Western Cape. The EPC contractor for Pongola and Elandskop is Roodepoort-based Tractionel Enterprise, andBesamandla of Cape Town is the EPC contractor for Hex. “The existing 11 kV Hex distribution substation’s switch board, which consists of MV Switchgear’s SBV4E gear, is being extended to serve as the collector substation for the Continued on page 27

26 Electricity + Control MARCH 2023

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