Storage company Energy Vault signs South African licensing agreement with GESSOL

January 30, 2024

Grid-scale energy storage system company Energy Vault has signed a new licensing and royalty agreement with Gravity Energy Storage Solutions (Pty) Ltd (GESSOL), a consortium company focused on energy storage deployments in Southern Africa.

Under the terms of the agreement WBHO will support all engineering, procurement and construction activities, while Energy Vault will also work with pan-African project engineering group iX Engineers and commercial developer Sizana Solutions.

While the scope of the license and royalty agreement includes Energy Vault’s gravity energy storage systems (GESS) and its associated ‘VaultOS’ energy management system (EMS), the consortium companies are also “bidding Energy Vault’s leading portfolio of short duration battery and ultra-long duration green hydrogen hybrid systems within the Southern African Development Community territory to address energy shifting and micro-grid development to serve the utility, mining and industrial sectors”.

An Energy Vault statement said: “The multi-year agreement is expected to facilitate multi-gigawatt hours of long duration Energy Vault GESS deployments to contribute to the SADC region’s energy storage needs, estimated to reach over 125 GWh by 2035. In addition to the technology licensing revenue, Energy Vault will receive a project revenue royalty over the complete operating life of each project, including software and maintenance revenues.”

Under the terms of the agreement, GESSOL will have exclusive rights to deploy Energy Vault’s portfolio of gravity energy storage technology and VaultOS throughout the SADC region, a 16 member-state regional economic community with a mission to promote sustainable and equitable economic growth and socio-economic development. SADC’s member states are comprised of: Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, United Republic Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

“Excited to be working with GESSOL and its consortium partners to bring our unique gravity storage technology and broader energy storage portfolio to market in order to best address the region’s renewable and decarbonization imperatives,” said Robert Piconi, chairman and chief executive officer, Energy Vault. “South Africa is undergoing a significant energy transition and has one of the world’s highest per capita emissions given its current reliance on coal fired power plants. In the broader SADC region, only half of all residents have access to electricity, 62 per cent of which is powered by coal. We believe that our licensing and royalty agreement with GESSOL enables the rapid scale-up of our Energy Vault gravity energy storage technology to increase renewable energy capacity, smooth out ‘load shedding’, optimize grid performance through our software applications and provide a necessary complement to intermittent renewable generation to firm grid resiliency.”

Les Lange, director, GESSOL, added: “We conducted extensive due diligence to bring the most economical, efficient, flexible and sustainable long duration energy storage solution to the SADC region and Energy Vault’s gravity storage technology is the clear choice. Southern Africa is a rapidly developing region with increasing energy demand, which historically has been met with coal-fired plants. Economic development in the SADC region is critical for improving quality of life, but we need to rapidly wean the region off of coal to simultaneously reduce carbon emissions and grow our economy. Energy storage is critical for the scale up of clean, baseload renewable energy in the SADC region and we are confident that with Energy Vault’s GESS and energy management software, as well as its broader energy storage portfolio that can address both shorter and ultra-long duration, we can achieve this objective.”