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Helen invests in its largest electricity storage facility that helps to safeguard the entire Nordic energy system

Helen is investing in an electricity storage facility to be built in connection with the Lakiakangas 3 wind farm. The output of the facility will be 5 MW and its energy capacity 10 MW. Corresponding to about 200 electric vehicle batteries, the storage facility will be only the second one to be located in connection with a wind farm, and in terms of its energy capacity it is among the largest in the country. The electricity storage facility is scheduled to start operations at the end of next year. 

Wind power has experienced strong growth in Finland. Just ten years ago, the total output of installed wind power capacity in Finland was 200 MW, now it is more than 2,500 MW. Last year, as much as 10 per cent of all electricity in Finland was produced by wind power. The need to boost flexibility in the power system has increased at the same time.

“Electricity storage facilities are an excellent technology for this purpose due to their speed, control capability and flexibility. The electricity storage facility to be built in connection with Lakiakangas 3 fits into four sea containers, and it will mainly be used in Fingrid’s reserve market to safeguard the balance of the electricity system. When there is a sudden and unexpected change in electricity supply, the entire Nordic electricity system, which the facility is part of, can be supported by transmitting stored electricity. We are also developing the control of the electricity storage facility so that it can be used in a diverse way also for Helen’s own energy management needs,” says Helen’s Business Development Manager Kristiina Siilin.

Shorter imbalance settlement period requires extra flexibility

In future, the market parties will have more responsibility to maintain the balance of electricity consumption and production, which is directed by the forthcoming reform of the electricity market. Currently, the parties must balance their own electricity production and consumption at the hourly level, but a 15-minute imbalance settlement period will be introduced in 2023.

“Energy companies have a natural role in maintaining the balance of the electricity system. In the future, by also combining the customers’ electricity stores as part of the electricity system, we will gain more tools for balancing production and consumption as the production of renewable energy increases. Helen wants to offer electricity storage facilities with an easy service model where controllability fits the customer’s needs. Helen will manage flexibility and the customer will receive the equipment at a cheaper price,” she continues.

Solution saves in transmission fees and electricity tax

Siilin explains that the batteries have for long been so expensive that industrial-scale electricity storage facilities are only now starting to be profitable. On the other hand, wind power is the cheapest way of producing electricity. Therefore, there are significant benefits in building an electricity storage facility in connection with a wind farm.

“Local wind power is therefore utilised in the charging of the electricity storage facility. The facility is connected to the internal power network of the wind farm, in which case there is no need to pay transmission fees or electricity tax for the electricity. The wind farm and the electricity storage facility will use a joint connection point of the electricity network, and therefore there will be no separate cost for it,” says Siilin.

Half a million euros of funding from Environmental Penny for the project

Helen’s Environmental Penny will be supporting the Lakiakangas electricity storage facility project with half a million euros. By subscribing to Environmental Penny, Helen’s customers can have an impact on increasing renewable energy production and the development of novel energy innovations in Finland, because Helen spends the funds of the Environmental Penny account on supporting renewable energy solutions. The customer pays 1.71 euros per month for Environmental Penny in connection with the electricity bill. Helen doubles the sum paid by the customer and deposits it monthly in the Environmental Penny account.

“We have made strong investments in wind power and other renewable energy solutions, and we will carry on doing so in the future. With Environmental Penny, Helen’s customers are able to take part in renewable energy projects,” says Sari Mannonen, Helen’s director responsible for the solutions business.

The size of the Suvilahti electricity storage facility in the picture (output 1.2 MW and energy capacity 600 kWh) is equivalent to one sea container. The electricity storage facility to be built in connection with the Lakiakangas 3 wind farm will be four times this size.

Further information
Kristiina Siilin, Development Manager of the electricity storage and flexibility business, Helen Ltd, kristiina.siilin@helen.fi, tel. +358 40 653 1316

Published: 19.07.2021 11:23
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