Developer PowerField’s first large-scale battery storage projects in the Netherlands will be installed at solar PV parks, allowing them to connect to an otherwise congested grid network.
Earlier this month, the Dutch developer signed a deal with Germany engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) company GOLDBECK Solar for the construction of seven solar PV plants with a total generation capacity of 108MWp.
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Located at various sites around the Netherlands, the projects are all scheduled to go live this year. Among them is the 33MWp Wanneperveen solar PV park, at which a battery energy storage system (BESS) will be installed.
The park’s BESS will have 52MWh energy storage capacity. At present, the Netherlands’ largest BESS project to date is the 48MWh GIGA Buffalo project inaugurated by developer GIGA Storage in October last year, with a BESS solution provided by Wartsila.
Meanwhile, system integrator Alfen was awarded a 68MWh project contract in Vlissingen a few days ago by developer SemperPower, meaning that on current announcements, Wanneperveen will be between those two projects in the top three of ‘largest’ in the country.
Perhaps more notable than that is the BESS will allow PowerField to require part of its allocated grid capacity at the site during peak times. When there is insufficient hosting capacity on the grid, the batteries will store power generated at the PV plant, and the rest of the time grid operator Enexis will be able to release capacity to be fed with clean energy from other renewable energy generators.
A further two solar PV plants not covered by the GOLDBECK deal will benefit from a smaller 12MWh BESS: PowerField’s new-build Valthermond solar park is due for construction and commissioning this year and will host the BESS. However the BESS will be connected to the grid connection at PowerField’s existing Emmen solar plant, which is nearby.
Congestion requiring creative developer thinking
The developer noted that under normal conditions, the BESS for Valthermond-Emmen would not be able to connect to the grid network until 2028, but due to the shared and hybridised grid connection arrangement, the project was able to be expedited to this year.
That arrangement springs from a completed pilot project carried out by PowerField with distribution grid operator Enexis last year. The developer’s power plants were given flexible access to grid capacity, when the capacity was available.
The pilot showed that the grid connection at one solar park – Emmen – could be leveraged to allow the Valthermond PV park and BESS to connect to the grid, while Wanneperveen’s access to grid capacity could be limited flexibly according to times and conditions on the grid.
In addition to solar PV, and now batteries, PowerField builds electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure. Company CEO Ivo van Dam said that the company wants to build “Europe’s largest virtual power plant (VPP)” by combining solar with batteries and charging points.
As is becoming increasingly well-documented, the Dutch grid is congested with the additions of growing shares of wind and solar PV, as thermal power plants retire. That speaks to a need for increasing energy storage capacity, but limiting factors on that market to date have included high grid fees storage projects are subjected to.
At the same time, some regions of the Netherlands have reached limits for feed-in of new resources due to the need by grid operators to base their assumptions on generation sources’ peak power outputs. As reported previously by Energy-Storage.news, PowerField is not the only developer in the country considering time-limited grid connection agreements.
“As a developer and owner of solar parks, we take our responsibility to contribute to the optimal use of the available grid capacity. With these batteries, PowerField does not call upon the reinforcement of the Dutch power grid,” van Dam said, adding that the company has “several initiatives planned for large-scale battery storage in the future”.