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01.11.2018 - EWE AG

Intelligent large-scale battery officially commences operation in Varel

Japanese and German project partners want to test innovative storage system under ideal energy Transition conditions   

Varel, Germany, 1 November 2018. The large-scale hybrid storage system near the A29 motorway at the Varel-Obenstrohe exit officially began operating today. The Oldenburg-based energy service provider EWE, together with its project partners, the Japanese companies Hitachi Chemical, NGK Insulators and Hitachi Power Solutions, hosted the ceremonial commencement of operations. The demonstration project, which was partially financed by the Japanese industrial development agency NEDO (see below), is unique in its hybrid construction: Lithium-ion batteries, which enable quick access to the energy stored, have been combined with sodium-sulphur batteries, which are suited to the more long-term interim storage of larger capacities. The two proven battery types are intelligently managed together.

Dr. Bernd Althusmann, Minister for Economic Affairs, Employment, Transport and Digitization in Lower Saxony, comments: “In Lower Saxony, we are able to provide the internationally renowned Japanese companies with ideal conditions to demonstrate the benefits of their intelligent storage technologies in an advanced energy transition. The need for efficient solutions to the challenges of the energy transition is increasing worldwide, so we welcome this forward-looking partnership.”

The official commencement of operations represents the launch of the demonstration project, which was preceded by a three-month technical test operation. The project partners are interested not just in how the storage system incorporates itself technically into the energy system using intelligent management, but also in how its operation can be economically optimised. Takashi Omote, Executive Director of NEDO: “We are certain that our comprehensive support and the valuable findings expected from this project will enable us to provide the best solution for renewable energy era in the world as well as Germany.”

Heiner Schönecke, Managing Director of EWE-Verband: “We appreciate and are grateful for the confidence that the project partners have placed in us. All of the project partners bring many years of experience and expertise in the energy industry to this project. The safety of the system is also paramount and is ensured by a comprehensive, multi-tiered safety concept.” EWE’s Chief Executive Officer, Stefan Dohler, adds: “We regard intelligent battery solutions – from large-scale hybrid storage systems to electric mobility to household energy storage systems – as indispensable elements of an efficient and sustainable energy supply. As a result, be.storaged – our specialist subsidiary for battery solutions – will continue to operate the system in Varel after its 18-month demonstration phase. We are pleased that this project will enable us to play a role in achieving success through our expertise, ranging from network integration to energy trading, and to obtain valuable findings.”

Background information

Who are the project partners?

The large-scale hybrid storage system is introduced by the Japanese industrial development agency NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization). The partnership is initiated and supported by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Employment, Transport and Digitization in Lower Saxony and EWE-Verband, the association of the EWE Group’s shareholders, based in Oldenburg. The Japanese companies Hitachi Chemical, Hitachi Power Solutions and NGK Insulators, together with companies in the EWE Group, are responsible for constructing, maintaining and operating the storage system.

What is the purpose of the large-scale hybrid storage system?
Around 36 per cent of electricity across Germany is generated from renewable energies, primarily wind and solar power. Frequency fluctuations in the electricity network are expected to continue increasing as the percentage of eco-power grows. The large-scale hybrid storage system in northwest Lower Saxony is located in a region where twice as much electricity is generated from renewable energies as can be consumed there every year. The term “energy revolution storage system” encapsulates the purpose of the battery storage system: The system aims to balance out frequency fluctuations in the regional electricity network, thereby contributing to the stability of the network. In doing so, it provides system services which network operators or operators of wind energy plants and other energy generation facilities can obtain on the energy exchange. Control energy is currently generated by conventional power plants. The large-scale hybrid storage system can provide this energy very efficiently and flexibly thanks to its special construction. If necessary, it can feed 11.5 megawatts of output into the electricity network or draw from it. Its storage capacity of 22.5 megawatt hours would be enough to supply every household in Varel with electricity for five hours.

Video: large-scale hybrid storage