Next Kraftwerke connects 2 MW battery to its VPP in Belgium


The provider of one of Europe’s largest Virtual Power Plants (VPPs) announced that it connected a 2 MW battery storage system in Belgium. According to the announcement, this marks the first time a battery storage system installed in Belgium will provide frequency control reserve (FCR). Additionally, the system will only source energy from renewables.

The project is a cooperation between battery supplier, Alfen, sustainable energy company, Eneco Belgium and VPP provider, Next Kraftwerke.

The storage system, comprising of a single shipping container that holds the entire 2 MW, is connected to the grid via the ‘Next Box’, which allows Next Kraftwerke to remotely control the energy being sold to the spot market. The company uses an algorithm to cluster energy and storage assets into the ‘Next Pool.’ Assets then jointly provide ancillary services. According to the VPP provider, this allows them to operate most efficiently and lucratively.

The project is located on the premises of the printed media products supplier, Peleman Industries. According to the statement, the company already has two wind turbines onsite, and in a later stage of the project, the team will work to align charging cycles of the batteries with the wind energy assets and energy demand of the company. This alignment will allow the company to increase its self-consumption.

“The Next Box constantly measures the grid frequency. This way, the battery set-point is updated in real time to counteract any frequency deviation from 50 Hertz,” says Paul Kreutzkamp, Co-Founder, and Co-Manager of Next Kraftwerke Belgium.

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“Apart from using only sustainable energy, the response time of the battery is also much faster and more accurate than any other technology delivering FCR to the Belgian grid. It is the first battery connected to the distribution grid which is offering frequency control reserve to the national grid. We are very proud to have realized this project with our partners Eneco, Peleman Industries, and Alfen.”

Gaining traction

Battery projects in the MW-scale have gained considerable traction across Europe. The integration of increasing variable renewable energy resources is a challenge to many grid operators. Battery storage suppliers and operators of VPP’s stipulate that the technology is a way to stabilize the grid and ensure safety of supply.

At this year’s Smarter E trade show in Munich, inverter suppliers demonstrated a range of energy management systems and virtual power plant solutions. Moreover, in the U.K., large-scale battery storage installations tendered through sapacity reserve rounds are skyrocketing this year.

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