Nordics’ biggest lithium ion battery helping hydropower in Finland

Energy company Fortum’s ‘Batcave’ battery – the largest lithium ion battery in the Nordics. (Fortum)
Lithium ion battery technology is making headlines in Finland again, this time due to energy company Fortum’s rollout of the Nordic’s largest lithium ion battery. The company says the ‘Batman’ battery station – which went online this week at the firm’s power plant in Järvenpää – can deliver an even flow of electricity to customers during peak usage levels, helping to prevent power outages.

Finland’s biggest power company, Fortum, switched on a huge lithium ion battery at its power plant in Järvenpää on Wednesday.

The battery array – called the ‘Batcave’ and housed in a shipping container – is the largest of its kind in the Nordic countries.

The battery supply enables power levels to remain steady during peak electricity consumption spikes and – compared to older methods – reduces the risk of power outages.

At the Järvenpää plant, the technology  is used in tandem with hydropower, according to the Batcave project’s manager, Roosa Nieminen.

Rapid adjustment

The mechanical parts of hydropower generators tend to wear out and a big lithium ion battery station – charged with solar and wind power – is able to provide extra power to the grid as needed.

The two-megawatt (2MW/1MWh) Batcave’s primary role, she says, is to provide rapid adjustment. When the battery’s output capacity is reached, hydropower is then switched on. The Batcave’s capacity is roughly equal to that of 100,000 cellphone batteries.

Nieminen says that in light of the global growth of solar and wind energy markets, Fortum hopes to expand the Batcave’s technology worldwide – particularly in places that do not use hydropower.

The price of lithium ion batteries is dropping fast, according to Nieminen. She says that as demand for the technology grows prices will likely continue to drop.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Arctic offshore drilling too dangerous: Trudeau, Radio Canada International

Finland: Finland bets on electric cars, more renewables in new energy and climate strategy, YLE News

Norway: Norwegian gas power plant to close after big losses, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Big growth for Russian Arctic oil in 2016, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Swedish government unveils new climate law, Radio Sweden

United States:  Alaska House Democrats introduce oil-tax bill to heated debate, Alaska Dispatch News

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