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Over 500 BMW i3 battery packs connect to the UK National Grid in latest large energy storage project

The use of electric car battery packs to create large energy storage projects is becoming increasingly popular.

Now, a new one made of BMW i3 battery packs is connecting to the UK National Grid and has become one of the largest to date.

The project is made of six shipping container sized units, five of which house 500 i3 BMW manufactured battery packs, which each have a 33 kWh capacity.

For a comparison, BMW delivered just over 500 i3 electric vehicles in the US last month. Therefore, it’s a significant portion of their battery pack manufacturing going to stationary energy storage.

The 22MW facility has been installed at Vattenfall’s Welsh onshore wind farm Pen y Cymoedd.

It shares the electrical infrastructure of the wind farm to create a hybrid renewable energy and storage asset.

Claus Wattendrup, Head of Business Unit Solar & Batteries, said:

This is Vattenfall’s largest battery installation to date, where we make use of synergies at our existing wind farms sites – such as at Pen y Cymoedd or the Princess Alexia Wind Farm in the Netherlands. Hybrid renewable parks will play a larger role in the future and we are leading this development.

It’s Vattenfall’s second large-scale energy storage project using BMW i3 battery packs. 

After a 2.8 MWh energy storage facility built with batteries from over 100 BMW i3 electric cars in 2016, they used up to 1,000 BMW i3 battery packs for an energy storage project at another of their wind farms near Amsterdam.

We are seeing more automakers leveraging their electric car battery packs for energy storage systems.

For example, Renault is using old Zoe battery packs for a home energy storage product and energy storage systems to power off-the-grid charging stations.

Also, Nissan recently unveiled stunning new streetlights powered by used Leaf battery packs and solar.

As for Tesla, the company said that it sees more value in recycling older battery packs for materials and instead, it designs and builds battery packs specifically made for stationary energy storage projects: Powerwalls and Powerpacks.

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