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Mitsubishi Heavy to supply 500 kWh (normal) containerized Li-ion energy storage system to power grid of Orkney Islands

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI), jointly with SSE plc (formerly Scottish and Southern Energy plc), will begin an energy storage system demonstration project using the power grid in the UK’s Orkney Islands, which has a high proportion of renewable energy generation in relation to demand. The project aims at demonstrating power supply stabilization in the region by introducing cargo container-type large capacity energy storage system using a lithium-ion rechargeable battery, which has a maximum power output capacity of 2MW. The storage system is slated to be handed over for operational use in early 2013.

The demonstration project will be conducted with the support of New Energy and Industrial Technology Development organization (NEDO) of Japan, under the program of “Development of Technology for Safe, Low-cost, Large-size Battery System.” In the project, Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe, Ltd. (MPSE), the business base for MHI’s power system operations in Europe, and SSE Generation Ltd., the power generation unit of SSE group, will jointly provide the energy storage services to Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution plc (SHEPD), the SSE group company that handles power distribution in Scotland.

The energy storage system, which has the capacity to store approximately 800 kWh nominal, 500 kWh normal usage, consists of two 40ft-long container units for the batteries and a 40ft-long container unit for the power conditioning system. Each battery container houses more than 2,000 units of lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. The power conditioning system container houses a system for conversion of direct current (DC)/alternating current (A/C) and the associated input/output controls.

The energy storage system will be installed at SHEPD’s Kirkwall Power Station. In the cases of slight power shortage or power surplus, power is transmitted from/to the mainland through a submarine cable. When there is too much renewable energy, exceeding the export capacity of the cable to the mainland, the energy storage system will import some of the excess energy, reducing the need to constrain renewable generation at that time.

In July 2010, MHI agreed with SSE to collaborate in the development of low-carbon energy. The two companies have been studying a broad range of collaboration, including offshore wind turbine power generation system, carbon sequestration and storage (CCS) and high-efficiency power generation system. The energy storage demonstration project using rechargeable lithium-ion batteries is a part of that initiative.



They have a cable to the mainland, so this is to be used if the cable is maxed out.
So it won't be used very much.
I suppose it depends on which is cheaper - the batteries, or an extra 2MW of cable.
However, it makes the system more complex to run - you now have to manage the batteries as well as the wind turbines, cable, demand and maybe a local generator.


It looks like they use 4000 54Ah cells, and only cycle them 62.5%.. that number keeps coming up, GM also cycles the Volt's battery about that much..

Probably good for several years.

Thomas Lankester

@mahonj its a bit of an assumption that the cable won't max out often as they only have twin 33kV circuits (

Looking at the Orkney energy monitor (3pm) it gives current demand of 22MW vs. a supply of 26MW. It is worth noted that wind capacity factors on Orkney are well above (40-50%) the UK average for on-shore. Orkney also hosts the European Marine Energy Centre so as a community, they probably have the highest wave and tidal power generation per head of population in the world.

The idea is partly demonstrator and partly to avoid having to lay another sub-marine circuit in the short term.

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