Germany Unveils Europe's Biggest Battery Plant

06.10.2014 -

Germany has switched on Europe's largest commercial battery plant, an installation powered by 25,600 lithium-ion batteries and designed to help stabilize the country's growing supply of renewable energy.

Built at a cost of €6 million, the facility is expected to help even out short-term fluctuations that sometimes accompany power from renewable sources and can cause damage or lead to power outages.

Germany is seeking to increase its share of renewable energy from about 25% percent currently to 40-45 % by 2025 and 55-60% by 2035.

Up to now, the lack of extensive storage capacity has been one of the biggest hurdles to the country's expansion into renewable energy, as power produced by wind and photovoltaic can generally not be easily stored in any sizable quantities.

With a storage capacity of five megawatt hours, Schwerin's battery plant, built next to a power substation operated by local utility Wemag, is said to fill that gap.

The utilities' grid covers an area of 8,600 square kilometres in northeastern Germany, which received 80% of its energy from wind power in 2013. The figure is expected to rise to 100% in 2014.

Several German chemical companies, including BASF and Evonik, are working on projects to develop chemicals for the batteries of tomorrow.