SOUTH AFRICA – The African Development Bank (AfDB) approved US$57.67 million loan to Eskom, South Africa’s public electricity utility, to harness battery storage technology that will increase electricity generation from reliable and efficient renewable energy sources.

The Bank’s financing, a concessional loan, will come from the Clean Technology Fund, a multi-donor trust fund under the Climate Investment Funds. The pioneering Battery Energy Storage Systems Project is being co-financed with the World Bank and the New Development Bank. 

The project involves the development of 200MW of battery storage with four hours of energy storage capacity per day, or 800MW in total, at seven sites in South Africa’s Western Cape, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.

Once onstream, Eskom will be able to dispatch electricity sourced from variable renewable energy that would otherwise have been wasted, reducing reliance on fossil fuel-generated electricity at peak times of the day.  

“The approval of the Climate Technology Fund facility reflects the African Development Bank’s strong commitment to support South Africa’s Just Energy Transition plans, prioritizing investment in new low-carbon generation capacity and new technologies such as battery storage,” Daniel Schroth, African Development Bank’s Acting Director for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency said.

“This comes at a critical moment as the world is gearing up for action at COP26.”

The large utility-scale battery storage project, the first of its kind in Africa, is expected to contribute to a reduction in CO2 emissions of as much as 0.292 million tons. It will also inform the rollout of similar projects across the continent.

Many African countries are implementing an energy transition as they strive to meet net zero emissions targets. The project also contributes to South Africa’s ambitious Nationally Determined Contribution, part of compliance with the Paris climate agreement.

The US$5.4 billion Clean Technology Fund promotes low-carbon technologies with significant potential to reduce long-term greenhouse gas emissions. The African Development Bank has been an implementing entity of the Climate Investment Funds since 2010.

The Board of Directors of AfDB had recentley approved a new €114 million (US$131.89m) loan to Morocco to enable the implementation of the Support Program for the Inclusive and Sustainable Development of Agricultural and Rural Areas (Padidzar).

The program will be implemented in the regions of Drâa Tafilalet, Béni Mellal-Khénifra, Fès-Meknès, Marrakech-Safi, Oujda, Souss-Massa and Tanger-Tétouan-El Hoceima.

The objective is to improve the resilience of smallholders in vulnerable areas of the Cherifian Kingdom, improving incomes and providing employment opportunities in irrigated agriculture.

Padidzar will also improve and modernize systems for the mobilization and exploitation of available water resources and their optimal use to support the sustainable development of irrigated areas.

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