Alfen to deliver Sweden’s biggest grid-scale battery system so far

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Alfen has been contracted to supply a battery energy storage system (BESS) in Sweden for electricity network company Ellevio, which will be the Scandinavian nation’s biggest project of its type to date.

Netherlands-headquartered smart energy equipment provider Alfen said yesterday that it will be providing a 10MW BESS which will perform grid-balancing applications. A company spokesperson told Energy-Storage.news that its capacity will be 11.9MWh.

Ellevio provides electricity to around a million people. With Sweden targeting net zero emissions status by 2045 – one of the most aggressive national targets worldwide – the country plans to meet most of its power needs from abundant wind energy sources.

However, the expansion of variable wind generation on the grid brings with it challenges to solve. Chief among these is the need to stabilise fluctuations in energy supply which can cause grid disruptions, but other potential challenges include the fact that wind energy may need to be curtailed from being sent to the grid at times of overproduction.

At the same time, in common with many other parts of Europe such as the Netherlands, the electricity grid in Sweden is becoming congested, making it difficult to hook up even new housing developments and industrial facilities with connections.

Yet to decarbonise the economy means largely to electrify buildings and heat networks, and Ellevio quoted statistics that project annual electricity consumption in Sweden will more than double over the next 25 years from around 140TWh to 310TWh by 2045. This is also something battery storage can ease.

A 10MW unit of Alfen’s TheBattery Elements BESS solution will be deployed for Ellevio, capable of fast frequency reserve (FFR) frequency response and delivering inertia to the grid with response times of a fraction of a second (<0.7 seconds). Running on Alfen’s in-house software platform, it can also do energy trading and arbitrage applications.

According to an announcement in May from Ellevio, the 10MW system will be sited in Grums, western Sweden. For Ellevio, it marks a transition away from being a pure electricity network company into one that provides infrastructure solutions to support fossil fuel-free energy.

“We see great market demand when it comes to support in the electrification process. Many players in, for example, the transport sector and industry are switching from fossil fuels to electricity, but their core competence is in their own operations and industry and not necessarily in energy solutions,” Ellevio CEO Johan Lindehag said in May.

Currently, the largest BESS project underway in Sweden is a 5MW system in Uppsala, which is being installed by utility Vattenfall. In megawatt terms, the project in Grum – which will be deployed by Alfen’s local subsidiary Alfen Elkamo – will be twice as big, although the Uppsala project is planned as a 20MWh system.

Our sister site Current± recently reported that Alfen’s energy storage business division saw its revenues in the first half of 2022 decline 18% from the same period of 2021. However, the company said it saw strong momentum in the sector and attributed the dip largely to obstacles such as long waits for permitting and grid connection approvals.

It expects the remainder of this year to be much busier and said energy storage revenues will be “backloaded” into the second half. Alfen also makes EV charging equipment and smart grid infrastructure such as substations and transformers for solar PV power plants.

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