29.05.2020 - EWE AG

Japanese partners hand over battery storage system to EWE

Lower Saxony’s Minister for Economic Affairs: Successful collaborative project helps open doors for further international cooperation

Oldenburg, 29.05.2020. In the autumn of 2018, the large-scale hybrid storage system in Varel was ready for its mission: for 18 months, it was meant to demonstrate how reliably and effectively the two battery technologies that were intelligently combined in the system can stabilise the electricity network. A particular challenge is posed by the region’s advanced state in the face of the energy transition – and this was also the reason for the selection of the site: almost twice as much electricity generated from renewable energies flows periodically through the EWE grid as can be used in the region. The Japanese project partners were able to provide excellent practical tests and to demonstrate the advantages of this type of battery storage system, which is unique in the world. Now the Japanese contractual partners – the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) and the Hitachi Chemical, Hitachi Power Solutions and NGK Insulators companies – have signed off the project and handed over the large-scale hybrid storage facility in Varel to their German contractual partners, following the successful termination of the demonstration phase.

The planned public handover has been cancelled, however, due to the global restrictions resulting from Covid-19 infection control. Dr. Bernd Althusmann, Minister for Economic Affairs, Employment, Transport and Digitalisation in Lower Saxony: “Naturally, we would have been delighted to welcome all our partners in this globally unique storage project to the Hannover trade fair and bring our successful collaboration to an appropriate conclusion. Flagship projects like the large-scale hybrid storage facility contribute to the opening of doors to further transnational cooperation. Japan is an innovative partner that offers the economy of Lower Saxony interesting perspectives. Therefore I have been striving for the state of Lower Saxony to have its own office in Tokyo since April. This will allow us to effectively support additional forward-looking collaborative projects between companies based in Lower Saxony and Japan directly on-site.”

Dr. Yoshiteru Sato, Executive Director of NEDO: “We were provided with the ideal conditions in northwest Lower Saxony to showcase the impressive performance of the applied battery technologies and demonstrate the advantages of the special construction of the large-scale hybrid storage system in real condition. Constructive, seamless collaboration with our German contractual partners contributed to this success. The companies of both countries that carried out the demonstration gained and shared so much data and experience. I believe they will create their innovative international battery business together. Our expectations for this project have thus been fully met.”

Heiner Schönecke, Chairman of the EWE-Verband: “The unique battery storage system in Varel is a beacon which strengthens our region as a pioneer in the energy transition. We in the EWE-Verband are delighted about the successful close of the project – and that NEDO and Hitachi Chemical, Hitachi Power Solutions and NGK Insulators on the Japanese side, as well as the state of Lower Saxony, counted on the skill of EWE and EWE subsidiary be.storaged.”

EWE CEO Stefan Dohler: “The demonstration project gave the EWE Group the opportunity to show that we can successfully implement innovative projects with international partners. We thank NEDO, which substantially financed the storage system, as well as the state of Lower Saxony and EWE-Verband, as initiators whose commitment made this cooperation possible. I am convinced that all those who participated in this unique project will benefit from it: we in the EWE Group have gained valuable experience through our transnational collaboration and will continue, through operation of the large-scale hybrid storage facility, to bring battery solutions for the unique challenges of the energy transition closer to the market. I would like to express my thanks to all those involved for their great trust in EWE. We are always willing to participate in further collaborations.”

Result: reliable, easy to control, fast and flexible

During the demonstration phase, the capacities of the storage system were used for various application scenarios, which include the provision of control reserves through balancing market for about 250 days. A total of approximately 8 million kilowatt hours (8 GWh) of electricity were charged and discharged over the past few months. The Japanese manufacturers were interested in demonstrating the versatility of this system under the terms of the energy transition. They can now offer this special type of hybrid internationally, especially where renewable energies might have the potential to be more strongly integrated into the respective energy supply system. The features of the large-scale hybrid storage system are of particular interest in all such places.

be.storaged Managing Director Dr. Magnus Pielke oversaw the battery project for EWE and briefly summarises the results as follows: “The system proved to be technically extremely reliable and was easy to control. There was no problem with the interaction between the two battery types, the ‘sprinters’ (lithium-ion) and the ‘long-distance runners’ (sodium-sulphur). Aside from these technical insights, there was also the question of economic viability. It was demonstrated that economical operation of the system is certainly possible. However, under current market conditions, not all of the storage system’s diverse application and marketing possibilities will pay off yet.”
The technical service life of the batteries goes way beyond the 18-month demonstration phase; EWE will be able to continue operating the large-scale hybrid storage system for ten years or more from an economic point of view.

Foto vom Pressesprecher Volker Diebels
Volker Diebels Press Officer / EWE NETZ


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