STORY Power Generation

Tomorrow's power grid in the Norwegian Sea

Posted on March 08, 2021 by Lucie Maluck, Images by Lucie Maluck, Rolls-Royce Power Systems

Three mtu EnergyPacks to stabilize the power grid on the Norwegian island of Senja.
Snow-covered mountains, narrow fjords where small villages nestle, and lonely bays with idyllic beaches – the Norwegian island of Senja is a nature lover's dream. Fish lovers also adore Senja, because the Norwegian Arctic Ocean, in which the island lies 350  km north of the Arctic Circle, is known for the abundance and variety of its fish. Accordingly, the fish processing industry is important for the livelihood of the island's 15,000-or-so inhabitants. But for this to continue to grow, the island needs reliable supplies of electricity. This is to be provided by three new battery storage units carrying the mtu brand.  
Senja is a tranquil place. The island lies 350 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle in the Arctic Ocean. Many of the inhabitants live from fishing.

The mtu EnergyPacks QL with an output of 4.25 MVA and a capacity of 3.79 MWh are to stabilize the power grid in a research project being undertaken by Norwegian utility Arva. Two of the three battery storage units will be installed on Husøy. This unique island lies off Senja and is home to Senja's most active fishing village. Until a few years ago, the island could only be reached by boat. Now there is a pier and a tunnel connecting it to the island of Senja.

In the village itself, people are rarely seen. Instead, thousands of seagulls buzz around the returning fishing boats. The fish is processed in highly industrialized fish factories, which are located on the outskirts of the island and do not fit neatly into the magnificent natural panorama. The work there is energy-intensive. As Senja is located at the very edge of Norwegian utility Arva's supply zone, short-term voltage drops in the power grid repeatedly lead to production losses.

The harbor of Husøy also looks tranquil. But right next to the harbor, fish is processed in modern facilities.

mtu battery container offering buffer storage

The three mtu EnergyPacks – two in Husøy and another one in Senjahopen – will soon be installed and hooked up to the grid. From autumn/fall onwards, they will act as buffer storage units to solve quality problems in the power supply and compensate for fluctuations in the grid. They can supply local businesses and private households with electricity for up to one hour at a time in the event of a power failure, or be used to compensate for additional electricity demand. Modern power management systems in companies and private households are to be integrated, as are local solar power systems. The findings from the research project are to be used to help improve security of supply across the entire Arva grid.

Three mtu EnergyPacks QL, the largest in the product range, will be integrated into the power grid in the towns of Husøy and Senjahopen on the Norwegian Sea island of Senja in late 2021. As part of a research project, Norwegian electricity supplier Arva is investigating how battery storage can improve the quality of electricity supplies and safeguard it in the event of grid failure.

Findings for tomorrow's power grid

“This is not just Arva's first-ever battery storage project, it's also the largest one of its kind nationwide. This is a significant project that we are convinced will strengthen the local power supply and give us important insights when it comes to designing tomorrow's power grid. This will enable us to continue to deliver cost-effective, efficient grid solutions to our customers as the demand for electricity rises and changes,” said Arva CEO Eirin Kjølstad.

Steffen Heinrich, Chief Technical Officer for Microgrid Solutions at Rolls-Royce, is also pleased with the Arva collaboration and is proud that Rolls-Royce is part of this innovative project. “Together with our partner BOS Power, we will provide support over the entire lifetime of our mtu EnergyPacks and help identify climate-friendly solutions for safeguarding power supplies,” he said.

Senja will then have it all: a magnificent natural environment, waters rich in fish, state-of-the-art fish processing, and reliable power supplies.  

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