RWE has installed what it said is Germany’s first megabattery, consisting of two battery systems with a combined 117MW in capacity that are able to deliver power for around an hour, and are virtually linked to run-of-river power plants on the Moselle River.

A total of 420 blocks of lithium-ion batteries have been installed at power plant sites in Lingen in Lower Saxony state and Werne in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW).

“With the increasing expansion of renewable energies, Germany needs innovative storage solutions on an industrial scale that can step in when the wind and sun are not supplying,” RWE Generation chief executive Roger Miesen said.

“In terms of size and technology, we are setting benchmarks in this country with our mega-battery.

“The completed battery storage facilities and our hydroelectric power plants on the Moselle will work hand in hand in the future to help stabilise the electricity grid.”

The utility said it is able to provide additional power as balancing energy by selectively regulating the flow rate at these plants, potentially increasing the power available for grid stabilisation in this system by up to 15%.

The project has fed first electricity into the grid, but is still on a trial run, with commercial operations expected to start in coming days.

RWE is already operating 270MW of storage projects globally, a capacity it aims to boost to 3GW by 2030.

Fight with climate activists

While the Germany utility is advancing its renewable energy projects, it is also clinging to its vast lignite operations and is currently engaged in a dramatic fight with climate activists about the clearance of the village Lützerath – also in NRW – which the company claims needs to be destroyed to expand its gigantic Garzweiler II open pit mine.

The mine is scheduled for closure by 2030 anyway in the wake of Germany’s coal exit, but RWE nevertheless claims it needs the lignite under Lützerath to make sure the country has enough fuel for recently re-opened power plants to compensate for Russian energy curtailment.

Police are expected to clear the area on Wednesday in what is expected to become a ferocious fight with climate activists.