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STEAG investing €100M in a total of 90 MW of grid energy storage systems with LG Chem Li-ion batteries

German utility STEAG is investing around €100 million in grid energy storage systems (ESS) totalling 90 MW, equipped with Li-ion cells from LG Chem. Six 15 MW systems—each containing five 3 MW units—will be put into service at six STEAG German power plant sites in Herne, Lünen and Duisburg-Walsum (all in North Rhine-Westphalia) and in Bexbach, Fenne and Weiher (all in the Saarland). Using the existing plant sites provides synergies in the infrastructure and therefore keeps the investment costs low, STEAG said.

All systems consist of power converters, a transformer, batteries and the control system, mounted inside the container for easy transportation and installation in a “plug and play” solution.

Nidec ASI will take on the role of Main Contractor (EPC), responsible for the installation and commissioning of the plants.

The storage systems are to be used to provide primary control power—a service for stabilization of the networks—for which the Transmission System Operators invite bids on a weekly basis. Primary control serves to stabilize the network frequency when there are short-term fluctuations in the grid (caused, for example, by uneven feed-in of energy from renewable sources which deviates from the forecasts, by power plant outage or by fluctuations in consumption). The six systems are to be operated independently of the STEAG power plants and are capable of relieving the grid fully automatically within a few seconds when there is surplus supply, and also in reverse feeding energy into the grid.

Storage facilities and the creation of flexibility are essential elements in the implementation of the energy transition in Germany. STEAG has therefore decided to make this investment in large-scale batteries for deployment on the control power market, without making use of grants or subsidies.

—Joachim Rumstadt, Chairman of the Board of Management of STEAG GmbH

STEAG’s large-scale batteries will satisfy the current performance criteria for battery storage systems supplying primary control power—e.g., the requirement of being capable of providing primary control power for at least 30 minutes.

STEAG has already successfully put a smaller ESS (1 MW capacity) on the market for control power in the form of the LESSY system at the Völklingen-Fenne power plant.

The battery storage system developed in the course of the LESSY (Lithium Electricity Storage SYstem) project with the support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy started commercial operation at the STEAG power plant in Völklingen-Fenne in February 2014, and was one of the first lithium-ion storage batteries in Germany to be approved for network stabilization duty.



$1,200 kw then

Not cheap, backing up the grid with batteries.



Help me out here. $1,200 a kW, how do I think about this in kWhr which is the typical energy unit usually attached to price comparisons. Also, it is not clear to me what this system actually does, is it actually a storage system that will get charged and depleted to high SOC and low SOC or is this more like a short spurt supply/stabilizer that may have some excessively long life span, kind of like hybrid batteries always stay in the mid range of SOC and thus can do hundreds of thousand of cycles.



The trade off is in cycle life versus capacity, so that you can have for instance just 1 kWh per kw, as some of the home storage units from Tesla are designed for.

The issue is that that is going to decrease cycle life, and some units for instance a very large BYD unit have as much as 36 MWh to supply just 6 Mw, so providing frequent cycling for many years.

This one is in between:

'LG Chem will supply batteries with a capacity of 140 megawatt-hours (MWh) for an ESS that needs to be developed for frequency regulation since the Germany government recently revised its regulations to keep power generators’ frequency at 50 Hertz. The new ESS to be developed will help the power generators’ frequency remain at that level while saving and supplying power in accordance with changes of power demand in real time.

It is the biggest contract in the world for a frequency regulation ESS development project. The 140 MWh of capacity is an amount for which 7,600 electric vehicles can charge at the same time.

The company didn’t say how much it would earn from the project, but it is expected to be several billion won. It added that it expects to make more profits since the German government recently revised regulations that make power companies have ESS with frequency regulation control.

By winning a contract to supply 140 MWh of batteries, the total of contracts won by the company has exceeded 400 MWh this year, which is about 50 percent of the world’s shipments of such equipment last year, which was 764 MWh, according to global market research firm B3.

The global ESS market is expected to grow by seven times in the next five years, or from this year’s 1.05 trillion won ($905.26 million) to 7.3 trillion won in 2020, another research firm, Navigant Research, said.

This year, LG Chem won a contract to supply 31 MWh capacity of batteries for an ESS in Japan in February and also teamed up to build a battery-based ESS with North America’s largest power company, Duke Energy, in May. LG Chem said it will strengthen its partnership with Nidec ASI to expand in Europe.'


In my view it is becoming clear that LG Chem are probably the leading battery company in the world.

Their contract with GM is at $145 kWh in 2016 at the cell level and they are getting almost all of the car contracts that are coming up as well as leading in stationary storage.

Their NMC is not so energy dense as Panasonic's NMC, but it is only around 20% off that and they are way ahead of BYD's LiFePo on that count, although their robust chemistry will provide formidable competition in stationary storage, and seems to work pretty good for their PHEVs too.


Simple cycle gas turbines are $600/kW but batteries can provide or accept a load, so are effectively 2:1 vs turbines.

So the capital investment is the same price. Gas turbines take time to warm up, and have a fuel cost tied to natural gas prices. Batteries have a "fuel" cost of cycle wear plus cost of arbitraged power, which is likely to be topped off during cheap or even negative wholesale rates...and are available just about instantaneously.


With enough fast chargers, we will have distributed storage for grid stability.


STEAG should be making a deal with drivers of all plug-in electric vehicles, both PHEVs and BEVs, to use 10% to 20% of their batteries for grid balance and solar or wind energy storage. Remember that they propose to offer 90 MW-hr of energy storage. If each electric car is willing to offer 4.5 kW-hrs then it would take about 20,000 cars to make up 90MW-hrs of energy. This amount of energy would not be needed quickly and could be managed and controlled by the grid wirelessly with low cost, low powered bi-directional chargers connected to the power grid when the cars are parked (i.e. vehicle grid integration). Such a system would offer the utility companies "essentially free energy storage" to balance intermittent wind and solar energy sources. This would increase the energy transfer capability of the existing grid with essentially no change in power transmission hardware. This is opposed to investing in high power transmission lines, battery storage, pumped hydro, etc. for energy storage to counter the solar and wind variations. This could work especially well with local solar and wind generation maintained and controlled by the utility company with rate adjustments for the PEV battery, land, and roof owners' use of their property. This could be a lot less expensive. The system would work best if all cars were long range plug-in hybrids like the Chevrolet Volt since there would never be range anxiety as with BEVs like the Nissan Leaf and Tesla cars. Also see our white paper "Using the Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle to Transition Society Seamlessly and Profitably From Fossil Fuel to 100% Renewable Energy"

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