Centrica and EStor-Lux announce Belgium’s largest battery storage project

UK-based multinational energy company Centrica Business Solutions has partnered with Belgian company EStor-Lux to build the country’s largest battery energy storage plant. The 10MW/20MWh battery energy storage system is being built in Bastogne, Powerengineeringint.com reports.

The project will be the first battery park of its kind in the Walloon region of Southern Belgium and the biggest in Belgium.

Centrica Business Solutions will operate and enhance the revenue received from the batteries. The system will be used as a virtual power plant and as an environmentally friendly back up to the grid.

The battery will be used as a buffer and allows electricity to be injected or absorbed from the grid as required by operator of the high-voltage electricity network Elia.

The project will enable the storage of renewable energy during times when generation is high for use when demand is high and generation is low.

Arno van Mourik, international director at Centrica Business Solutions, said: “We are convinced that these new battery-based and CO2 emissions-free ‘virtual power plants’ will continue to be developed in Belgium. They are perfectly in line with Elia’s ambition to gradually open the various electricity markets to demand management. The optimisation of ‘virtual power plants’ allows for a valorisation on multiple flexible energy markets. It represents a unique opportunity for investors.”

Bruno Vanderschueren, director of EStor-Lux, adds: “This project represents a real step forward in the energy transition by demonstrating the full competitiveness of batteries as an alternative to thermal power plants. Centrica contributed greatly to the feasibility of the project. The service goes far beyond simple access to flexibility markets and includes significant performance guarantees from Centrica.”

Battery park to open in 2021

Planned to be commissioned in mid-2021, the battery park is expected to meet the flexible capacity needs of Elia, the high-voltage electricity network operator in Belgium.

A ‘virtual power plant’ will be made available by Centrica as part of the secondary reserve, which helps in balancing the grid frequency in order to guarantee its stability.

Acting as a buffer, the battery allows electricity to be added or absorbed from the grid when required.

Centrica said that the battery will be a part of a larger ‘virtual power plant’ that will virtually be connected to large industrial businesses such as LafargeHolcim, Sappi and Foamglas.

EStor-Lux is a joint venture between Rent-a-Port, Idelux, Socofe and SRIW.