A huge battery plant with 25,600 lithium-manganese cells was switched on Germany recently. Samsung made the cells. It is the largest commercial battery plant in Europe. The purpose for the plant is to fill in gaps in electricity production that occur sometimes. The area where it is located gets 80% of its electricity from wind turbines. It is expected that soon 100% of the area’s electricity will be generated by wind power. There is an intermittency issue when winds die down: so does electricity output. That’s where the huge battery comes in. It has 5 MW of storage capacity, and cost six million euros. The power plant is connected to regional distribution by five, four-ton medium-voltage transformers.
Its location is Schwerin-Lankow, in the northern region of Mecklenburg. Considering the role it plays in adding electricity to the community when needed, the price is not too bad. With more research and development, the dimensions might decrease along with costs.”This is an interesting alternative to conventional power plants and the regional utilities have come up with an interesting project here,” said German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel.
Germany is planning to get 55-60% of its energy from renewable sources by 2035. So, these kind of enormous battery plants might become more commonplace there. The size of the battery plant is similar to a gymnasium.
Of course, most people are familiar with much smaller batteries like the one used in their cars and cellphones, but this vast one is a utility-scale battery. Younicos AG constructed it for Wemag AG. Wemag supplies power to an 8,600 sq km area in Germany.
“Up to now the power grid has been largely stabilized by inflexible coal-fired power plants, which can only use a fraction of their output for control power. This blocks space in the grid, increasingly forcing wind and solar generation to be taken offline,” explained Clemens Triebel, CTO of Younicos.
It will be fascinating to see how much battery power production might ramp up in the next five to ten years as solar and wind power continue to expand. Battery power sometimes is criticized for being too feeble, and therefore not a viable backup to renewable energy sources, but battery technology is improving. Eventually, battery storage may catch up to solar and wind enough that there are no more naysayers. Battery storage might become fairly common, both for utilities and homeowners.
Image Credit: Younicos