News / 20.6.2016

Largest electricity storage facility in the Nordic countries to be commissioned in Helsinki

Helen Ltd will soon commission the largest electricity storage facility in the Nordic countries, located in the Suvilahti district of Helsinki, next to the Suvilahti solar power plant. The purpose of the facility is to balance electricity supply.

The idea of the electricity storage facility is to store electricity at a time when there is plenty of electricity production but demand is lower. When the demand for electricity rises, the stored energy can be discharged from the facility.

Electricity generated by Helen’s Suvilahti (340 kWp) and Kivikko (850 kWp) solar power plants can be momentarily stored in the Suvilahti electricity storage facility. The facility consists of 15,000 lithium-ion battery cells. Its output is 1.2 megawatts and energy capacity 600 kilowatt-hours. In principle, the electricity storage facility operates in the same way as an ordinary mobile phone or laptop battery, but it has a huge number of battery cells.

The storage facility was manufactured in Northern Italy, and it was transported to Finland by land and sea in May. The last of the installations are currently being carried out, and the electricity storage facility will be commissioned in the near future. The lithium-ion battery cells of the facility manufactured by Toshiba represent the most advanced technology available in the world. The electricity storage facility was delivered to Helen by Landis+Gyr.

Multipurpose tool for the electricity network

When the amount of renewable energy independent of demand increases in energy production, the need for energy storage also grows.

– The electricity storage facility is a multipurpose tool for the smart grid of the future. We see intermediate storage of electricity as a significant element of flexibility, which helps to reconcile production and consumption, says Helen’s Development Manager Juha Karppinen. The benefits of the battery-operated electricity storage facility are its immediate start-up and easy controls. –

-  The Suvilahti electricity storage facility is at its best in compensating for brief peaks and dips in output, which need rapid reaction, Karppinen says.

Key pilot project

For the first three years, Helen will utilise the electricity storage facility in a research project in cooperation with Helen Sähköverkko Oy and Fingrid Oyj. The project will examine and test the functionality of the storage facility and develop new business models for the storage of electricity suitable especially for the Nordic energy market.

After the research project, the storage facility will operate as part of Helen’s renewable distributed energy system.

At first, the electricity storage facility will be used as part of Fingrid’s frequency-controlled operation and disturbance reserve. In addition, it will also be utilised in optimising the production of the Suvilahti solar power plant and to balance out the load peaks in the distribution network in the Suvilahti area. The fact that the current legislation does not identify electricity storage hinders wider utilisation of electricity storage facilities. According to the current interpretation, an electricity storage facility can be classed as being both consumption and production, as a result of which taxes and distribution fees have to be paid when charging electricity and a production fee when discharging electricity.

Facts about the Suvilahti electricity storage facility:
• Output: 1.2 megawatts • Energy capacity: 600 kWh
• Includes: 15,000 lithium-ion battery cells
• Capacity corresponds to the batteries of about 100,000 mobile phones
• Size 12 x 2 x 2 metres
• Investment cost about EUR 2 million