Finland sees growing role for energy storage

Energy storage in Finland set to grow, as Landis+Gyr installs the largest battery system in the Nordics, which will help stabilise the electricity supply in Helsinki. Pic: Pixabay.

Energy storage in Finland set to grow, as Landis+Gyr installs the largest battery system in the Nordics, which will help stabilise the electricity supply in Helsinki. Pic: Pixabay.

By Jason Deign

Finland’s nascent grid-scale battery market is set to expand rapidly in the coming years, according to Landis+Gyr’s Northern Europe CEO Ari Tolonen.

He told Energy Storage Report his company was pursuing four other energy storage projects in Finland after completing the largest battery plant in the Nordic countries earlier this year.

Up to 4MW of battery storage could be installed across the country “very soon,” he said. “I believe we will see three or four cases a year. I expect to see this kind of system everywhere.”

In August, Landis+Gyr commissioned a 1.2MW, 600kWh battery system for Helen Electricity, a distribution system operator covering the Helsinki area of Finland.

The €2m Helen storage facility was built alongside Finland’s largest solar plant, a 340kW array in Suvilahti, and will also serve an 850kW PV project being built at nearby Kivikko.   
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Japan’s big investment in energy storage

Less than a year ago, and a couple of months after the tsunami-fuelled nuclear crisis that engulfed the country, the Japanese government announced a three-year programme of subsidies for renewables-related technologies. Of this, reports The Lithium Review, around 20 billion Yen, or roughly USD$212 million or UK£140 million is being spent on stationary lithium-ion battery energy storage.

One of the key subsidies is to cover one-third of the cost of domestic systems and fuel adoption of energy storage at a household level. This is in addition to the attractive feed-in tariff (FIT) offered to home owners who want to sell any excess energy – from renewable sources like solar – to the grid.

Companies were not slow in taking the bait.

Panasonic currently offers systems that range from 4kW residential units, to full megawatt-scale power plants used to stabilise energy produced from solar and wind farms.

Kyocera has gone into partnership with Nichicon to produce a new domestic energy storage system, using Samsung’s SDI lithium cells. The two companies are hoping for first year sales of 10,000 units.

NEC, Orix and Epco Corp. have set their sights much higher. Their joint venture is aiming for 30,000-50,000 Japanese homes to adopt its residential energy storage system in the first year of sales, with 100,000 more homes every year after that.

Toshiba has also got involved – and is offering the 6.6kW eneGoon battery back up system, which integrates the company’s own SCiB cells.

If all this sounds familiar, that’s not surprising. Despite uncertainty over the future of its proposals, Germany has voiced a similar compromise to domestic subsidies and FITs.

And as in Germany, the commitment to energy storage makes a lot of sense. For example, Japan has a burgeoning domestic solar market. Not only that, but both Toshiba and Kandenko have announced investments in large solar plants only this week.