Croatia got the green light from Brussels to give a EUR 19.8 million grant to a domestic startup for a massive energy storage project. IE-Energy is planning to build a battery system of 50 MW, which means it would be the biggest in Southeastern Europe.
The European Commission has approved, under the European Union’s aid rules, a EUR 19.8 million Croatian aid measure in favor of energy storage operator IE-Energy.
The package is aimed at helping the firm partially finance the procurement and installation of grid-scale batteries to provide transmission system operators (TSOs) with balancing services. TSOs use grid-scale batteries to maintain a continuous balance between electricity supply from power stations and demand from consumers and to store electricity when needed.
The aid is necessary and appropriate to address an existing market failure, the EU’s top regulator concluded
The aid will take the form of a direct grant and will cover approximately 30% of capital expenditures. The commission concluded that the aid is necessary and appropriate to address an existing market failure, as there is a lack of incentives to provide balancing services to TSOs through grid-scale energy storage facilities.
Furthermore, the measure contributes to the modernization of Croatia’s energy network, as well as increases in the country’s and the EU’s energy security of supply, the 27-member bloc’s executive arm said. In addition, it will accelerate the decarbonization of the Croatian energy sector, according to the announcement.
Batteries are for balancing services for HOPS
IE-Energy is based in Rijeka, Croatia’s fourth-largest city. It joined the intraday and day-ahead markets at the Croatian Power Exchange (CROPEX) last year. Documents reveal the project is scheduled to start on December 1.
The firm intends to build the battery system near Šibenik in Dalmatia. It would have 10 MW in operating power and the capacity of 22 MWh in the first phase, scheduled to be completed in the first quarter of next year.
Moreover, IE-Energy said it would boost the system to 50 MW and 110 MWh by 2024. There is no storage facility in Southeastern Europe yet with such a capacity. Of note, a 250 MW project is under development in Turkey, with an envisaged capacity of 1 GWh.
The batteries would be used for balancing services for the independent Transmission System Operator in Croatia (HOPS), domestic media reported.
The European Union’s documentation shows the project is scheduled to start at the beginning of December.
IE-Energy is developing virtual power plant
The startup’s core activity is the development of a flexible and decentralized power provider – virtual power plant or aggregator – to allow small and medium-sized power producers (prosumers) and consumers to participate directly in the energy market.
Aggregators have an important role in the integration of renewable energy sources, as power supply from wind and solar parks is unstable due to changes in the weather
Operators of such cloud-based systems unify available electricity sources so they can jointly increase output when the transmission system lacks power. Aggregators have an important role in the integration of renewable energy sources, as power supply from wind and solar parks is unstable due to changes in the weather.
Virtual power plants can also coordinate a decrease in consumption, for example in factories and shopping malls, or facilitate a boost in consumption in the case of a jump in electricity production, mostly when an unexpected burst of wind or sunshine boosts the level of renewable energy in the grid.