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Vattenfall trials batteries for ‘present and future needs of flexibility’ in Sweden

Vattenfall previously executed a 2018 battery storage project at Pen y Cymoedd, Wales, the UK’s largest onshore wind farm at 228MW, delivering enhanced frequency response (EFR) services to the grid. Image: Vattenfall.

Vattenfall will build an industrial lithium battery energy storage project in Sweden – at a plant which recycles lead acid batteries.

The company announced that along with Swedish utility supplier Landskrona Energi AB and the customer, Boliden, it will develop a 1MWh system for commissioning this summer, in Landskrona, which is in Southern Sweden.

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The battery system is aimed at helping reduce Boliden’s electricity costs at its recycling plant in Bergsöe which smelts down the lead in used car batteries. It will be able to perform multiple applications including services to aid grid stability such as frequency regulation, or injecting power into the grid at times of high demand.

The Swedish Energy Agency will support the project with SEK1.9 million (US$200,000) towards the total expected SEK7.4 million cost. Vattenfall spokesman Magnus Kryssare confirmed to that nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) lithium-ion batteries will be used for the project. As well as helping the customer directly to reduce energy costs, the project will also serve as an evaluation of the flexibility benefits energy storage can offer the grid, choosing smartly between which service offers the most economic benefit at any time.

While on a national level, Sweden is a prolific user of renewables already compared to some, reaching more than 50% by the mid-2010s, it is targeting 100% by 2040. Lanskrona Energi head of distribution Angelo Tizzano said that the project will help the utility evaluate “what opportunities there are for the customers to contribute to a more efficient use of the grid and at the same time influence their costs”.

“Local and regional solutions for storing and using electricity are becoming more and more important as the electricity requirements of our society increase,” Swedish Energy Agency Sustainable Electricity Unit head Susanne Karlson said.

“This project is an example of how it's possible to find solutions here and now.” reported that a 6.2MWh system will be deployed at a Swedish hydropower plant back in November 2019, which was at one stage the Nordic region's largest battery project until overtaken by a project at a Finnish wind farm. Sweden has not yet widely embraced grid storage either at utility or commercial scale but – as Vattenfall press officer Magnus Kryssare told this publication – there is a plan for the company to roll out more solutions of this type in the country.

“There is such a plan but partly depending on the outcome of the project,” Kryssare said, adding that while the number and size of those planned installations is yet to be announced, a solar farm the state-owned utility is working on near the Swedish city of Uppsala will have a 5MW battery system co-located. Outside of Sweden, the company has worked on numerous battery storage plants with differing technologies and applications, including a UK plant which is contracted to provide enhanced frequency response (EFR) to the grid as well as establishing a dedicated solar-plus-storage business unit in 2017.

In related news, battery manufacturing startup Northvolt is hosting both its forthcoming first giga-watt scale (gigafactory) in the Scandinavian country, as well as its R&D headquarters. 

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