Fortum and Saft in biggest Nordic energy storage project

Finnish energy company Fortum is launching the Nordic countries’ biggest energy storage pilot project.

The €2m ($2,2m) project will incorporate megawatt-scale lithium-ion battery storage technology from French company Saft.

Saft’s Li-ion containerised battery system with a nominal output of 2 MW and 1 MWh of energy capacity will be installed at Fortum’s combined heat and power plant Suomenoja, in Finland’s second largest city Espoo.Suomenoja CHP plant in Finland

“We are also researching the battery’s optimal use together with the production and the demand flexibility-based virtual power plant,” says Tatu Kulla, head of operations at Fortum.

The battery project is an extension of a Fortum experiment started in March in which a virtual power plant based on demand flexibility is being built together with customers.

The capacity of this plant will be offered to national grid company Fingrid to maintain a continuous power balance in the electricity system.

Planning for the Suomenoja battery project is underway and the aim is to start installation work in September with testing of electricity storage due to begin in October.

Fortum will receive a 30 per cent energy investment subsidy from Finland’s Ministry of Employment and the Economy towards the €2m cost of the project.

Fortum said that the Suomenoja plant is “an ideal test environment for the pilot because the plant already has in use an industrial-scale heat pump station, which produces about 300,000 MWh ” as much as 15 per cent of Espoo’s district heat demand”.

One of Finland’s biggest thermal batteries is also currently under construction at the plant. It can store about 800 MWh of thermal energy ” the equivalent to the heat consumption of about 13,000 single-family homes per day.

Kulla added: “Increasing the amount of energy produced with solar and wind power will increase the need for regulating power that balances the electricity network and for new storage solutions.

“When the weather is sunny or windy, there is plenty of energy production, but less demand, so it makes sense to store the electricity. In this project we are also researching new business models that can be developed with electricity storage for electricity companies and customers.”

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