German official approves land for 280MWh battery storage project following the rejection of a nuclear waste disposal site plan
2024-04-02 16:18

In a bold move towards sustainable energy, Hubertus Grimm, the mayor of Beverungen in Germany, has allocated land at the site of a former nuclear power plant for the development of a large-scale Battery Energy Storage System (BESS). This significant decision was made after the government disapproved plans to use the location for storing nuclear waste. The 'Würgassen storage park' project, as it is now known, will be undertaken by Westphalia Weser, the municipal utility and distribution network operator (DNO) responsible for managing the region's electricity grid. The site, situated in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), is where the Würgassen nuclear power plant once stood before its decommissioning in 1994. Despite being decommissioned, the site still retains its essential grid infrastructure, including a transformer and power lines, which will be harnessed by the BESS.

Although not explicitly mentioned, it is reasonable to assume that the existing infrastructure would also comprise a grid interconnection point. Acquiring such a point can often take an extensive period, spanning several years or even decades, particularly for new projects starting from scratch. Westphalia Weser is set to invest a substantial €92 million (approximately US$100 million) in this project, with expectations for it to become operational in the second half of 2026. Mayor Grimm elucidated that this resolution was reached subsequent to the state's rejection of alternative proposals for the site's use.

"At the end of 2023, we were fortunate that the Federal Environment Ministry declined the proposal to establish a central storage facility for low- and medium-level radioactive nuclear waste in Würgassen. By embracing a future-oriented initiative that aligns with the energy transition, we are fulfilling our role as one of the four key energy locations identified in the NRW regional plan," he elaborated. The announcement from Westphalia Weser indicated that the project would significantly enhance the stability of the grid's energy supply. Although it is described as a pilot project, with its considerable capacity of 120MW/280MWh, it is poised to become one of the largest BESS projects in Germany. Other notable projects under construction include systems of 235MWh and 200MWh by utility and generator RWE and developer BW Storage respectively, with another developer, Kyon Energy, planning to commence construction on a 275MWh system in 2024. Several ambitious projects are also in the pipeline, including several 300MW/600MWh projects being planned by Kyon Energy, which was recently acquired by investors Brookfield and NIC at the start of the yea

As of the end of 2023, Germany had approximately 1GW/1GWh of front-of-meter grid-scale energy storage online. A recent report from consultancy GEEC suggests that this figure could surge to 50GW by 2037. The market for grid-scale energy storage witnessed a revival in 2022 and 2023, following several years of minimal deployments. A significant development in the current year was the government's release of an Electricity Storage Strategy. According to Lars Stephan, Senior Manager of Policy and Market Development for BESS integrator Fluence, this strategy marks the first time that storage has been placed on the political agenda.

Germany's energy storage market is burgeoning, propelled by the nation's energy transition, supportive policy frameworks, and technological innovations. Large-scale projects like the Würgassen Storage Park epitomize the expanding role of energy storage in Germany's energy landscape. As Germany steadfastly pursues its ambitious renewable energy goals, energy storage is set to assume an increasingly pivotal role in guaranteeing a stable, secure, and sustainable energy future.

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