Germany to Increase Storage on its Renewable Grid

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Last week, grid storage provider Younicos, in partnership with the German utility WEMAG, broke ground on a new facility to increase grid storage capacity at the Schwerin battery park. The Schwerin facility was Europe’s first battery storage facility, commissioned in 2014 with a capacity of 5MW. The primary function of the storage facility is to level out momentary dips in output coming from the grid, which is mostly powered by wind turbines. When so-called frequency regulation power is provided by conventional power plants, the plants are required to remain running at 60% capacity in order to be able to respond quickly enough. Batteries can provide the same function far more efficiently, and because of their rapid response time, more effectively as well. According to the Energy Storage Association, “In the group of “ancillary services” provided in the open market management of the grid, frequency regulation has the highest value.”

This latter, no doubt underscores the rationale. “The fact that WEMAG is now investing €5 million in order to increase the available power and energy for system service is a strong testament to the commercial success and performance of battery storage in Europe,” said Alexander Schönfeldt, Younicos Vice President of Sales for EMEA.

The need for frequency regulation is crucial for grid stability as Germany transitions from conventional fossil fuel plants to renewables.

WEMAG provides a total renewable generation capacity in excess of 800 MW, which in 2014, produced more than 100% of the energy required by the customers across their 3,300 square mile service area. (That’s about 70% the size of Connecticut).

The original Schwerin facility contained 1,600 battery “trays,” containing 25,600 lithium-manganese-oxide cells that can store and release energy within milliseconds. Five medium-voltage transformers connect the units to the grid.

The new upgraded facility will provide a total of 14.5 MW of battery storage, nearly tripling the site’s original capacity, as well as 10 MW of power capacity. In addition to batteries, Younicos, which has facilities both in Austin, Texas and Berlin, will providing power electronics and software. The software ensures that this system is ready to respond at all times (battery management), provides the response (battery power plant management) while ensuring that the batteries are maintained in near optimal conditions (supervisory control and data acquisition).  The company has roughly 100MW of storage installed around the world.

Christian Pegel, Minister for Energy, Infrastructure and Land Development of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, called the Schwerin battery park, “a pioneer of this development [which] has impressively shown that new technologies are more than capable of providing system services in the future.”

The project is expected to be completed in June 2017.

Image courtesy of Younicos.