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Biggest battery storage system inaugurated in the Netherlands

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GIGA Buffalo, the largest battery energy storage system in the Netherlands provided by technology group Wärtsilä, has been officially inaugurated after 10 months of construction.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony last week (6 October) marks the opening of the 24MW/48MWh project, which uses Wärtsilä’s grid-scale energy storage product Gridsolv Quantum and its energy management system (EMS), the GEMS Digital Energy Platform.

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GIGA Buffalo, developed by Dutch company GIGA Storage, is co-located with both wind and solar assets at Wageningen University & Research test centre in Lelystad, just east of Amsterdam.

Rob Jetten, Minister for Climate and Energy for the Netherlands, and the CEO of GIGA Storage Ruud Nijs led the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the project, which is in the service territory of grid operator Liander.

Whether the system is currently online and participating in the market is not 100% clear, with Wärtsilä saying that it was ‘completing the commissioning’ of the project on the day of the ceremony while Nijs described the project as ‘online’. It uses lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery cells.

“We’re pleased to see this landmark project complete construction and come online. Battery storage is critical for the stabilisation of the country’s electric grid and imperative for reaching our clean energy goals,” said Ruud Nijs, the CEO of GIGA Storage BV.

The developer is leasing the battery storage system to energy supplier Eneco on a long-term basis, and Nijs gave an interview to Energy-Storage.news in January discussing this storage-as-a-service model.

The local grid has reached maximum capacity for the feed-in of wind and solar. Eneco will use the battery system to alleviate intermittency from renewable energy resources and to regulate energy frequency while adding reliability to the grid. It will also monetise the system by optimising renewable assets and providing peak demand capacity.

GIGA Storage has partnered with Liander, one of seven grid operators in the Netherlands, on two other battery storage projects, in Amsterdam and Alkmaar as previously reported by Energy-Storage.news. It is exploring the use of time-limited contracts where the batteries can only charge or discharge at certain times, an idea which could help more storage be approved in future.

This is because, currently, grid operators have to consider the maximum amount that all connected resources could request simultaneously, limiting how much they can approve.

Wärtsilä cited reports claiming that the Netherlands needs 29-54GW of energy storage by 2050 to achieve its renewable energy goals, including a 95% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

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