Some might query whether 5 megawatts is ‘giant’ in terms of national electricity demand, and the usual claims that battery costs are going to drop like a stone are made, but nevertheless this attempt at an energy storage system is happening, as edie.net reports.
German energy company E.ON has started constructing the world’s first modular large-scale battery in the German town of Aachen.
The modular aspect of the design means that various battery technologies can be ‘plugged in’ to the system – a world-first for a battery of this size.
The system, known as M5BAT, will be housed in a former office building that is being converted specially for the installation. In total, the batteries and other components of the storage system will stretch over two floors and the roof, covering around 500 m² of floor space.
M5BAT is backed by a €6.7 million grant from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy as part of its “Energy Storage Funding Initiative”.
E.ON said the system represents an important building block for the expansion of renewable energies.
“Large battery storage systems are particularly interesting thanks to their flexible possibilities for use,” said Bernhard Reutersberg, chief markets officer on the E.ON Board of Management.
“The findings expected from M5BAT are of value for the entire energy industry, particularly as a means of support on the path towards low-CO2 power generation.”
In a Tesla earnings call last week, Elon Musk said that large-scale storage (specifically Tesla’s 1MW Powerpack system) could theoretically shut down half of the world’s power plants.
He said the Powerpack would allow power plants to buffer – i.e. operate at the average energy demand, storing energy at periods of low demand, then releasing it at peak demand.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) released a report last week claiming there will be an international ‘megashift’ towards energy storage within the next 10 years as the cost of batteries falls by up to 60%.