RWE expands its battery business to TopDutch with 35MW smart storage project

The German energy giant RWE has begun the construction of a utility-scale battery storage project in Eemshaven, an energy-focused seaport in the TopDutch region. The 35MW project will support the  massive expansion in offshore wind farms in the surrounding North Sea, and will be virtually coupled with RWE power plants across the Netherlands to help lead the transition to a smarter, more reliable renewable energy system.

Construction begins in the Eemshaven. Photo: RWE

Battery storage systems are an essential part of the energy transition – they store the leftover electricity from surplus production and make it available again when needed. As renewable energy sources such as wind and solar often fluctuate with the weather, being able to store energy (literally) for a rainy day is vital to make green power as reliable and commercially-viable as the historic fossil-fueled energy system.

Charging 800 cars an hour

The planned battery storage facility has a storage capacity of 41 megawatt-hours (MWh) and can operate at its installed capacity of 35 megawatts (MW) for over an hour. Theoretically, that’s enough to charge around 800 electric vehicles! In reality, the plan is for it to operate in wholesale markets, and will supply control energy as of 2025. “This construction start makes me very proud,” said Roger Miesen, CEO of RWE Generation and Country Chair for the Netherlands. “RWE’s first utility-scale battery storage project in the Netherlands is a big step towards a reliable electricity supply in an increasingly green national energy system. Thus, we are actively contributing towards stabilizing the Dutch electricity grid.”

[This] is a big step towards a reliable electricity supply in an increasingly green national energy system.

Roger Miesen, CEO of RWE Generation and Country Chair for the Netherlands

RWE have been active in the Netherlands for decades, and already have six project locations in the TopDutch region. The instillation of the 110 lithium-ion battery racks that make up the utility-scale battery storage will be next to their existing biomass power plant, on an area of around 3,000 square meters. The Germany multinational are planning to invest approximately 24 million euros into this project.

The system has been designed to be virtually coupled across technologies with RWE power plants in the Netherlands. This enables optimal management of balancing energy, which can be supplied by selected units either individually or as a group. The battery storage system receives excess power from the electricity grid and feeds it back into the system when required, in order to maintain the required grid frequency.

Grafik Batteriespeicher Eemshaven
The battery storage system in Eemshaven. Graphic: RWE

Unlocking full system integration

The battery storage project is part of a series of investments RWE are making in the Netherlands to realise system integration and accelerate the energy transition. In 2022, RWE had secured the implementation of the ‘OranjeWind’ offshore project off the Dutch coast with a system integration concept that combines the 800MW capacity wind farm with the generation of green hydrogen and other solutions including battery storage. They are also working together with a number of innovators on new developments in offshore wind farms, such as TopDutch-based start-up Ocean Grazer, whose ‘Ocean Battery’ is a scalable, modular solution for energy storage that is produced by renewable sources such as wind turbines and floating solar farms at sea.

OranjeWind is just one of the projects that will make up the planned 21GW capacity offshore wind farms in the Dutch North Sea by 2030. With over half of the Dutch energy supply and one third of the European energy supply coming from the North Sea in a matter of years, and a long history of energy production and transportation, the Northern Netherlands presents large-scale energy storage and hydrogen production and storage potential on the TopDutch region’s extensive coastline.

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