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CeBIT: Energy storage cooperation agreement signed with Japan

19.03.2017 Hannover

On the eve of CeBIT 2017, partners from Japan and Niedersachsen signed an agreement in Hannover to build a multi-megawatt energy storage facility in Varel.

Varel, in the Friesland district of northwest Niedersachsen, will see the construction of one of the biggest batteries in north Germany; the Japanese project for a hybrid energy storage facility will cover an area nearly as large as a soccer pitch. On 19 March 2017 Niedersachsen’s Minister for Economics, Labour and Transport Olaf Lies signed a Memorandum of Understanding to initiate the project with representatives of the Japanese economic development organisation NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization) and the Oldenburg EWE energy utility on the eve of this year’s CeBIT computer fair. Such large battery systems guarantee stable electricity supply despite fluctuating generation from renewable sources.

“Japan, too, is seeking solutions to one of the crucial challenges of the energy transition: efficient interim energy storage. Nowhere else in the world, Japan has found such favourable conditions for this demonstration project than in Niedersachsen.”

Securing grid supply stability

The special feature of the energy storage project is its hybrid battery system, which combines the advantages of lithium-ion batteries and sodium-sulphur batteries, enabling it to cope with various demands (‘system services’) within the energy supply network. The principal aim is to guarantee stable voltage supply when generation and input from renewable sources fluctuates.

20 MWh capacity

The battery storage facility consists of lithium-ion cells with a capacity of 2.5 MWh delivering up to 7.5 MW in combination with sodium-sulphur cells delivering up to 4 MW from a capacity of 20 MWh – in total this corresponds to the output of six average wind turbines. At around 4,000 square metres, the facility will cover an area almost as large as a soccer field. The battery cells will be installed in containers in Japan for delivery, installation and connection in Varel, next to the local transformer station; commissioning is scheduled for late 2018.

Cost of the project is around 24 million Euro, financed by the Japanese economic development organisation NEDO. Operators are Hitachi Chemical, Hitachi Power Solutions and NGK Insulators, together with the Oldenburg energy utility EWE.

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