A 48-megawatt battery is scheduled to go online in Jardelund, Germany at the end of 2017. Its primary function is to provide reserve capacity for grid stabilization. Once it is operational it will be Europe’s largest battery energy storage system (BESS).

The megabattery project named EnspireME, is a joint venture of the Dutch gas & electric utility Eneco and the Japanese automotive manufacturer Mitsubishi. The BESS is a Lithium-Ion system with a storage capacity of 50 MWh, enough to supply 5,300 German households with electricity for a day.

Back up power
The energy stored in the system will be used as reserve capacity to balance supply and demand on the grid. To keep the grid stable at 50 hertz, transmission system operators must be able to call on reserve capacity in the case of unexpected fluctuations. This back-up function is currently primarily provided by gas- and coal-fired power plants. Batteries like EnspireME reduce dependency on these fossil fuel-based solutions and are a piece in the puzzle to making the transition to a low-carbon power system.

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Storing wind energy
Construction will start this summer in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein close to the border with Denmark. The state is a leader in wind power: onshore wind farms supplied 60 percent of gross electricity consumption in 2014. In the municipality of Jardelund the energy generated by the states’ on- and offshore wind parks comes together to be transported to other parts of Germany.

EnspireME could turn profitable after the initial testing phase by storing energy during strong winds and sell it when the weather is calm, Eneco spokesman Arie Spruit told Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

With aid of the states’ government, Eneco and Mitsubishi will also start a pilot project with local wind farms. In case of overcapacity these farms can supply their surplus electricity to EnspireME and sell it on the reserve capacity market at a more opportune time.

Image: Walney Offshore Wind Farm. Courtesy David Dixon under CC BY-SA 2.0 licence