News Digest Item
23 Nov 2017

Giant battery “the Energiewende’s magic potion”?

WirtschaftsWoche / EWE

The small municipality of Jemgum on Germany’s North Sea coast could soon become home to a giant battery, which some hail as “the Energiewende’s magic potion”, Burkhard Fraune writes in the WirtschaftsWoche. The redox flow battery, which stores electrical energy in liquid electrolytes, will have the capacity to store the daily power use of 75,000 households, according to operator EWE. The battery, which works with a mixture of saltwater and electrically charged plastic material pumped underground, could turn out to be the German energy transition’s “missing link”, as storing the power generated by intermittent wind and solar power plants is among the greatest challenges for a decarbonised energy system, Fraune says. “But that’s far from being achieved”, he adds. Apart from challenges in achieving the scale for storing enough power to supply the entire country in times of low renewables output, the giant batteries in underground salt domes also raise questions over their potentially detrimental effects on groundwater; the applicability of the concept when there are large differences in the ambient temperature; among many others, Fraune writes. Protests against underground carbon capture and storage (CCS) solutions or against hydraulic fracking show “that these questions need to be answered first”.

Read the article in German here.  

Find the EWE press release in German here.

See the CLEW factsheet How can Germany keep the lights on in a renewable energy future? for more information.

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