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BMW signs battery storage deal with Vattenfall

Batteries in a BMW i3

Swedish utility will buy up to 1,000 i3 packs for use in renewable energy storage

Mid-March saw Vattenfall and BMW sign a contract putting its battery packs to use outside of the transport sector.

The agreement will see BMW deliver up to one thousand 33-kWh batteries to the Swedish utility, each equipped with a BMW-owned battery management system (BMS). The packs were originally designed for use with the automaker’s i3 EV.

According to an announcement from Vattenfall, it will purchase the new batteries from the BMW battery plant in Dingolfing and use them in storage projects, in conjunction with energy generation.

“Energy storage and grid stability are the major topics of the new energy world”, said Vattenfall senior vice president and head of its wind business, Gunnar Groebler. “We want to use the sites where we generate electricity from renewable energies in order to drive the transformation to a new energy system and to facilitate the integration of renewable energies into the energy system with the storage facilities. The decoupling of production and consumption and the coupling of different consumption sectors are in the focus of our work.”

The first such project is being built at the 122-MW Princess Alexia onshore wind farm, near Amsterdam, and when completed will have a capacity of 3.2 M.

Pending  a final investment decision, they will also be deployed to its largest storage facility to be built at the utility’s 230-MW Pen y Cymoedd wind farm in South Wales. Here, a 22-MW storage facility will help stabilise power supplied to the UK grid as part of the so-called EFR (Enhanced Frequency Response) service.


Driving change

The move follows Vattenfall’s announcement that it would adopt more EVs as part of its commercial fleet. As of January 2017, the company said it would upgrade 1,700 vehicles in Sweden, 1,100 in Germany, and 750 in the Netherlands to EVs over the next five years. This switch will include passenger cars, technical support vehicles, and maintenance vans.

It credited the timing to better batteries, further range capabilities, and reduced costs. Head of customers and solutions, Martijn Hagens, said: “We already help our customers drive electric by supplying charging points. With the decision to switch our own fleet we do not only contribute to reducing CO2 emissions in Europe, but we also want to set an example for other companies.”

The use of batteries – whether for storage or for mobility – support Vattenfall’s aim to become carbon-neutral by 2050.


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