At strong winds, wind turbines sometimes turn to no purpose or are stopped, when more electricity is generated than can be handled by the power grid. At the Dutch Princess Alexia Wind Farm, Nuon/Vattenfall is linking 88 BMW i3 batteries into a mega battery to store surplus energy. Mega-batteries help cushioning the peaks and troughs in the energy supply to better match actual demand and stabilise the power grid.
BMW is supplying the batteries, and the electric energy innovation company Alfen is supplying the storage system. With its 3 MW it will be the largest battery in the Netherlands, but it is still only a first step. In due course, the battery will be expanded to 12 MW: some eight shipping containers full of batteries and electronics.
"The scale is unique", says Boudewijn Tjeertes, project manager of Nuon. "We can finally make more flexible use of the renewably generated energy. And we are thinking further ahead: for example, we also have plans to locate a battery in a residential district where there are many houses with solar panels. The occupants will then also be able to use the solar energy generated during the day, when they come home and at night to charge the car."