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Renault wants to build a 60 MWh energy storage system with used electric car battery packs

Renault is launching today a new  “Advanced Battery Storage” program today.

With the program, the French automaker is aiming to build “the biggest energy stationary storage system using EV batteries ever designed in Europe by 2020.”

While several automakers have now launched “second-life” programs for used electric vehicle battery packs, Renault is in a particularly good position to run those programs because of how it sells many of its electric vehicles.

In some markets, Renault sold most of its Zoe electric vehicles while retaining ownership of the battery packs.

They have also offered battery upgrades – resulting in them having significantly more used battery packs than the average automaker.

Now Renault wants to take advantage of that model with this new energy storage program.

They plan to deploy “at least 60 MWh” of energy storage capacity at several different sites accross Europe.

According to the company, the first facilities will be developed in early 2019 on three sites in France and Germany: at the Renault plants in Douai and Cléon and at a former coal-fired plant in North Rhine-Westphalia.

From there, they plan to “gradually expand over time to contain the energy of 2,000 EV batteries.”

At 60 MWh, Renault expects that they will store enough energy for “the daily consumption of a city of 5,000 households.”

The French automaker says that the energy storage capacity will aim to close the gap between renewable energy production and consumption.

Nicolas Schottey, Director of the Groupe Renault New Business Energy program, said about the announcement:

“Our stationary storage solution aims to offset these differences: it delivers its reserves to a point of imbalance in the grid at a given time to reduce the effects,”

He added that the EV battery packs will be installed in containers:

This unique assembly will give Advanced Battery Storage the capacity to generate or absorb, instantaneously the 70MW power. This high power combined with high capacity of our solution will allow to react efficiently to all major grid solicitations”,

The deployment will start next year and the first phase will last through 2020.

Electrek’s Take

As we previously highlighted, it’s interesting that almost every automaker working on electric vehicles other than Tesla are planning to reuse battery packs instead of recycling them for the materials.

We recently reported on Mercedes-Benz turning a coal power plant into an energy storage system with electric car batteries.

BMW is also using vehicle battery packs for energy storage projects. They recently connected over 500 BMW i3 battery packs to the UK National Grid to create its latest large energy storage project to date.

Those are just a few examples. Also, Nissan recently unveiled stunning new streetlights powered by used Leaf battery packs and solar.

On the other hand, Tesla says that it prefers building battery packs especially for stationary energy storage and it has other plans for old vehicle battery packs.

The company instead plans to mine old battery packs for materials in order to build new ones. Last year, Tesla CTO JB Straubel said that Tesla already set up a recycling facility at Gigafactory 1 in Nevada and explained how Tesla prefers to mine used battery packs instead of actual minerals.

It’s interesting to see how companies are taking different approaches when it comes to old battery packs.

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