Innergex brings online the first stand-alone 9 MW/9 MWh battery storage project in France

Renewable energy developer Innergex completed a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) project in France, using a BESS solution designed by a subsidiary of the utility Hydro-Québec.

Full commissioning took place of the 9 MW/9 MWh Tonnerre BESS in Joux-la-Ville, a small commune in the north-central French region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Innergex, whose head office is also located in Quebec, Canada, announced Friday (July 22).

The battery system was built near two existing Innergex wind farms, Yonne, built in 2016 with a gross generation capacity of 44 MW and a net capacity of 30.6 MW, and Yonne II, commissioned in 2021 with a gross capacity of 6.9 MW and a net capacity of 4.8 MW.

The plant will contribute to the stability of the local grid and help maintain the security of supply to the grid. Innergex has been awarded a 7-year capacity contract for the plant of the French network operator RTE. When not requested by RTE to provide system services, Innergex may use the asset to participate in other revenue-generating market opportunities.

It’s the latest in a wave of BESS projects being developed and built in France, a battery storage market that to date has been slower to develop than those in Germany or the United States. neighboring UK.

In fact, Innergex’s Tonnerre plant accounts for about 1% of the amount of publicly announced battery storage expected to be deployed grid-wide in France in 2022 and 2023, according to figures provided in March to Energy- by clean energy storage consultancy group Horizon.

Clean Horizon compiled the project announcements and found around 900 MW of projects to which this applied. The company’s analyst Corentin Baschet said in an interview that this rapid progress was remarkable given that – unlike in the UK where battery operators can access several different revenue streams – batteries in France cannot in principle access only two.

One of them is the long-term contractual revenues for participation in the capacity market and the other is the market for ancillary services of the European frequency control reserve (FCR), also called primary control reserve. (PCR). However, a third source of income, the secondary reserve or automatic frequency restoration reserve (aFRR) is being opened up.

The introduction of aFFR was already due to take place in France at the end of last year, but the current crisis linked to rising electricity prices in the country has led regulators to put a stop to it. It is expected in the coming months in France and its introduction is spread over the various European markets by 2025 in coordination with regulators, network operators and other main players in each territory.

While solar sites plus storage have been built in French island territories through tenders in recent years, the largest battery storage site in mainland France to date is a 61 MW project. /61 MWh in Dunkirk, northern France, developed by TotalEnergies and supplied by battery storage company Saft, owned by TotalEnergies.

Chart of French grid-scale battery developers and their publicly announced assets, as of March 2022. Image: Clean Horizon Consulting.

At the Tonnerre site, which has just been commissioned, Innergex commissioned EVLO to supply the BESS solution used. Utility Hydro-Quebec, of which the Quebec provincial government is the largest shareholder, launched EVLO in late 2020 to take advantage of opportunities in the growing energy storage market.

EVLO Energy Storage, to give its full name, designs and manufactures battery systems based on lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cells. Before being launched on the wider market, the systems were tested in operation on Hydro-Quebec’s own power grid, achieving a range of applications.

The Tonerre project was partially announced as the first project of the subsidiary, and its planned commissioning date was the end of 2021, which seems to have been postponed.

In December last year, EVLO launched EVLO1000, a modular, containerized BESS unit with a capacity of 1 MWh equipped with battery management system (BMS) technology developed by Silicon Valley company Nuvation.

Innergex noted that EVLO’s BESS enclosure in Tonnerre is IEC 62933 certified and UL 9540A tested, while the system’s energy management system (EMS) developed in-house at EVLO made it capable of meeting the RTE’s strict requirements for frequency reserve providers.

Founded in 1990, the developer has to date commissioned a net capacity of 3,484 MW of renewable energy assets, mostly hydro and wind, with a few solar sites in Canada, France, Chile and the United States. United. The Tonnerre project marks its very first autonomous battery energy storage project.