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Electric vehicle batteries that can light up a city

The energy storage system at our Melilla coal-fired power plant is an award-winning project on account of its contribution to the circular economy, based on the reuse of batteries from electric vehicles to guarantee the electricity supply of the entire city.

Aerial view of the city of Melilla
Aerial view of the city of Melilla.

 

 

The investigation of new energy storage systems in the move towards a new decarbonised model has led us to test a pioneering system in Europe: the reuse of electric vehicle batteries to guarantee the security of the electricity supply in a system which is isolated from the electricity grid, as in the case of the autonomous city of Melilla.

The project is called "Second Life Battery Energy Storage System" because it is based on the reuse (second life) of batteries previously employed in electric vehicles. It is a storage system installed in our Melilla thermal power plant comprising seventy-eight interconnected batteries with a power of up to 4 MW and a maximum stored energy of 1.7 MWh. This large battery will guarantee the improvement of the energy supply of Melilla, which has 86,120 inhabitants, reducing the possibility of power cuts in the autonomous city.

This circular economy initiative has received the BASF award for the best circular economy practice in Spain. These awards recognise projects or research that are based on the circular economy and contribute to or have the potential to contribute substantially to the development of business competitiveness in this country, especially projects that have a social and environmental sustainability approach.

These are the main advantages of this innovative system, a clear example of a circular economy:

  • It is a cheaper alternative to stationary power storage batteries and, above all, a more sustainable application, since it re-employs batteries already used previously in electric vehicles, thus giving a second life to batteries and solving their recycling.
  • It will contribute significantly to solving generation loss imbalances in the electricity system and to improving the quality of supply.
  • It will extend the life of spent batteries that have been used in electric vehicles with an average life of about six years, depending on their use.

This project has the collaboration of the automotive manufacturer Nissan and 78 "battery packs" from its Nissan LEAF model are used in it.

 

Melilla power plant and energy storage equipment.
Melilla power plant and energy storage equipment.

 

 

Pioneers in storage systems

At Endesa, we are pioneers in the research and development of large-scale energy storage projects, within our commitment to developing a no-emissions energy model. Our strategy focuses on growth in renewable energy, electrification of demand, energy efficiency, and the phasing out of traditional generation systems and energy storage systems.

Along these lines, in the area of coal plants that are closing we are promoting future plans that include the development of new renewable energy plants and, in the case of the Andorra (Teruel) project, a large-scale energy storage system of up to 159.3 MW.

Among our storage projects, the Carboneras (Almería) thermal power plant system stands out. It is currently the largest in Spain and is based on 20 MW lithium-ion batteries with a production capacity of 11.7 MWh. Another similar one is planned at the thermal power plant that the company owns in As Pontes (A Coruña) and which is currently in the processing phase.

To these initiatives must be added the Store project, the first we developed, based on batteries located on different Canary Islands, which has successfully demonstrated the operation and the possibility of strengthening the grid in isolated electrical systems.

Beyond battery-powered energy storage systems, we also have pump-based storage systems in several hydroelectric plants and we participate in the Gorona del Viento wind-pumped hydro power plant, on the Canary Island of Hierro.

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