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Alfen deploying 24MW/54MWh BESS in Belgium for Centrica

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Netherlands-based Alfen is deploying a two-hour-plus battery energy storage system (BESS) for Centrica Business Solutions in Belgium, the latter’s first outside the UK.

Alfen will provide its ‘TheBattery’ BESS product for the project in Oostende, which is set to come online in the first quarter of 2024. The BESS will participate in Belgium’s capacity market, operated by grid operator Elia, as the country looks to shut down five of its seven nuclear reactors by 2025.

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Michelle Lesh, chief commercial officer for Alfen, said: “Battery storage technology has evolved significantly over the last decade, and we’re proud to support Centrica’s ambitions across mainland Europe, especially in Belgium where the market is growing quickly as it prioritises green energy to secure its long-term energy supply.”

The project, Centrica’s first outside the UK, will be located at the site of a plant operated by Ostend Basic Chemicals, a company active in the phthalic anhydride market. It will have a discharge duration of 2.25 hours based on the power and capacity.

Although it is the UK utility’s first owned project outside home soil, the firm is already active in Belgium through an optimisation deal, also secured through Centrica Business Solutions, its division providing energy solutions to large customers. Parent company Centrica plc is mainly known for its retail arm British Gas.

Centrica Business Solutions is optimising the EStor-Lux 20MWh BESS, the largest in the country when it was deployed, as well as a smaller 2.75MW project at a Google data centre in Saint-Ghislain (both deployed by Fluence).

For the Oostende project, Centrica said it would “employ a multimarket optimisation strategy, allowing energy to be stored and then sold and deployed to the grid when supply outstrips demand or when there is a requirement for additional power to be deployed to the network”.

Bill Rees, director of Centrica Energy Assets, part of Centrica Business Solutions, said: “As the share of renewables in our energy mix grows, flexibility will be even more critical to ensure it is harnessed effectively while keeping the lights on securely and affordably. Belgium is becoming strategically important for us, and we’re excited to work with companies like Alfen to develop storage assets to help the country navigate the energy transition in a clean and sustainable way.”

Belgium has been one of the most active markets in continental Europe for energy storage in recent years. Two 100MWh projects were recently brought online, one by developer Corsica Sole and another by Nippon Koei and Aquila Clean Energy EMEA.

Just last week, French utility Engie revealed it had proposed three BESS projects in the country totalling 380MW of power.

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