Europe’s largest energy storage facility has begun operating in the Belgian province of Wallonia, as the continent aims to secure its energy supply.
The 40 lithium-ion mega-batteries allow for stable energy distribution across the public grid even when wind or solar power inputs fluctuate.
Given the current energy crisis, stocking up on electricity could be key for Europe’s energy independence, according to Michael Coudyser, CEO of solar energy company, Corsica Sole.
“Today we have a clear understanding that energy is a sovereignty issue…and we can envisage [the new site] allowing us to rely even less on external sources of energy,” he told Euronews.
The centre can store 100 MWh of electricity. Each battery costs around €800,000 and should last for around ten years, after which they will be recycled by the manufacturer.
The investment cost €30 million without any public subsidies.
Raphael Lance, Head of Energy Transition Funds at Mirova and one of the financial partners in the project said governments are keen to invest in large-scale infrastructure projects.
“The emergence of storage capacity is directly related to the growth of renewable energy and its importance within the grid,” Lance told Euronews.
“As an example, the most recent fund that we are managing has an investment capacity superior to €1.5bn, that we have gathered along with institutional partners from France, Europe, but also Asia and the US.”
With the added pressure of cutting Russian gas due to the war in Ukraine, European leaders are struggling to balance growing energy demands with fighting climate change.
The EU has now a new programme though called RepowerEU to help member states increase their autonomy in terms of energy.
Before innovative technology, such as hydrogen, is more readily available, EU states will have to invest in the production and storage of electricity as much as possible.