To ensure the reliability of its grid network while boosting environmental sustainability, German utility RWE has embarked on a project that includes the integration of massive battery energy storage systems with hydropower.
RWE is investing €50 million ($58.7 million) in the development of two large battery energy storage systems in Lingen and Werne. The Lingen project will have a capacity of 45MW and the Werne project will have 72MW. They will comprise 420 lithium-ion battery racks in 47 containers.
Once complete in 2022, the projects will be virtually coupled with RWE’s run-of-river hydropower stations. By raising or decreasing the flow-through at these power stations, RWE can make additional capacity available, also as balancing energy. This coupling process raises the total capacity of the batteries by 15%, according to a statement.
The energy from the batteries will be used to provide frequency regulation within the main grid.
“Battery storage systems are essential to the success of the energy transition. They help balance out fluctuations in the power grid, which are increasing as the share of renewable energies grows,” said Roger Miesen, chief executive officer of RWE Generation. “Our project is setting new standards and shows how we can offer the market even more flexibility by intelligently linking up battery capacity with run-of-river power stations.”
Olaf Lies, Lower Saxony’s State Minister for Environment, Energy, Building and Climate Protection, said: “This secures jobs and prosperity in the region. And industry follows energy as these investments in the energy infrastructure act as a magnet for other branches of industry to settle in this region. So protecting the climate is so much more than just reducing carbon emissions – it is also leading our region as an industrial location into a new era.”
RWE’s core business is made up of four segments: Offshore Wind, Onshore Wind/Solar, Hydro/Biomass/Gas, and Supply & Trading. These are supplemented by the fifth segment of Coal/Nuclear.
RWE says its Hydro/Biomass/Gas segment includes pumped storage, run-of-river hydro, biomass and gas-fired power stations, in addition to the minority interest in Austrian energy utility Kelag.
RWE states its focus in terms of growth lies on the core markets of Europe and North America, as well as on the Asia-Pacific region. The company aims to grow its portfolio by more than 4GW over the next three years. A total of 2.7GW in capacity is currently under construction. Furthermore, the group has a sizeable project pipeline of over 20GW.