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Alfen building battery storage system with black start functionality for Finnish wind farm

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Energy solutions integrator Alfen is building a 12MW battery energy storage system (BESS) with black start functionality for co-location with a wind farm in Finland.

Netherlands-based Alfen is building the BESS, which it claims is Finland’s third-largest, for electricity generation company EPV Energy’s Teuva wind farm. The one-hour system (12MWh) will be completed in spring 2023.

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The BESS will provide grid balancing services to restore frequency in the event of a generating unit dropping off the system unexpectedly. It will also provide black start functionality to the wind farm, which means that in the event of a power outage on the local grid the wind farm can be restarted with energy from the BESS.

“In this way, the new battery system will serve as a strong risk management tool in EPV Energy’s production portfolio,” said Niko Toppari, managing director of EPV Akkuhybridi, a subsidiary of EPV Energy.

Alfen said the BESS will use its latest TheBattery Elements design which has a minimum power of 1MW. The batteries are contained in smaller, more flexible outdoor units rather than traditional shipping containers, it said.

BESS projects are increasingly being called upon to provide black start functionality for not only generating units, but even entire grid networks. The first use of a BESS to do this may have come in 2017, when a utility in California used one to fire up a combined cycle gas turbine.

In 2018, UK grid operator National Grid announced it would look at including BESS projects in future procurements of black start services. The contracts are lucrative, with around £55 million (US$70 million) on 18 Black Start contracts that year. The capability for BESS has also been talked about in Texas which has recently suffered numerous outages due to extreme weather events.

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