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Mitsubishi, Eneco work together on 50MWh energy storage project in Germany

Image: Eneco

The latest project to be dubbed “Europe’s largest battery” will be a 50MWh project from Dutch energy supplier Eneco and Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi Corporation in Jardelund, Germany.

Perhaps more notable than just the size will be the significant role of the battery-based energy storage system in the Schleswig-Holstein region where Jardelund is, close to the Danish border. It will provide frequency regulation to the grid and be used to replace baseload electricity supplied traditionally by coal and gas power plants.

Project ‘EnspireME’ as it will be known, will allow the local community to optimise its growing use of wind and solar energy by supplying the reserve power capacity needed to balance the grid. Construction will begin this summer, at a site next to a substation. The proximity to the substation will also allow the storage system to reduce efficiency losses at the substation itself. The Schleswig-Holstein region is a hotbed of wind power, with vast generation facilities that are interconnected to the rest of Germany, making it an ideal location for the project.

NEC ES to supply and integrate EnspireME project

NEC Energy Solutions will supply and integrate the EnspireME battery system, which includes 48MW / 50MWh lithium-ion batteries, power conversion technology and controls. It is expected to be put into operation by the end of this year.

In addition to making capacity available to transmission network operators via the primary reserve market so that the network operators can use it to keep the grid frequency regulated at 50Hz, the project will also pilot measures to restrict the curtailment of wind energy. Local wind farms will be connected to EnspireME and if there is overcapacity or congestion on the grid, their generated power will be used to charge the batteries. Owners of the wind farms will be able to sell the stored electricity onto the market at the prices and times most favourable to them.

Mitsubishi Corporation group CEO Hiroshi Sakuma said his company believed energy storage will become a “key factor” in helping renewable energy resources contribute to a “low-carbon society”, particularly in reducing the volatility of energy supply, which increases when intermittent sources like wind and solar are used.

“This project is a significant step forward to the realisation of the sustainable society,” Sakuma said.

“Although, fortunately, the share of sustainable energy is increasing rapidly, it does pose a challenge for the energy grid. In our view, the solution to this is twofold: smart matching of supply and demand and a combination of small-scale and large-scale energy storage,” Kees-Jan Rameau, chief strategic growth officer at Eneco said.

Rameau added that Eneco has already begun creating a network of home batteries and hailed the partnership with Mitsubishi for helping the company reach the large-scale sector.

“Germany is a frontrunner in green development and, as such, ideal for gaining experience. This step will also provide valuable knowledge that can be applied on the Dutch market.”

In late 2015, Eneco partnered with US energy data company Autogrid to develop a 100MW ‘software-defined virtual power plant’ in Holland, combining multiple smaller resources including CHP and demand response. That plant is able to respond to pricing signals from the Dutch transmission system operator’s (TSO’s) wholesale markets.

Meanwhile, back in Germany, Energy-Storage.News heard from a number of sources at the recent Energy Storage Europe show in Germany that while residential and commercial and industrial (C&I) energy storage appear to be developing quickly as markets, utility-scale storage has somewhat lagged behind.