Saft batteries will help coal phase-out in the far north

13 July 2022

Saft, a subsidiary of TotalEnergies, has won a turnkey contract to provide an energy storage system for one of the world’s most northerly permanent settlements, Longyearbyen in Svalbard, the island group in the Norwegian Arctic region.

Above: Longyearbyen

The new 6 MW/7 MWh lithium-ion energy storage system will be housed in six containers and employ Saft’s Intensium Max High Energy technology. Saft will provide a fully integrated solution that includes power conversion and control systems. It will deliver the project by late 2022, a lead time that is ambitious considering the remote location and environmental conditions.

The new energy storage system will support Longyearbyen council’s transition to becoming a zero-emission community and cutting CO2 emissions by 100%. It will be located next to the town’s coal-fired power station and will provide reserve capacity to overcome fluctuations as well as providing backup power for black start capability. When the coal power station closes
in 2023, the battery energy storage system will provide voltage and frequency control to integrate diesel generators and growing amounts of renewable energy.

Joachim Karlsen, Longyearbyen Council’s project manager says: “We selected Saft after a competitive bidding process that evaluated price, quality and capability to deliver. One aspect we particularly liked about Saft is its experience and proven high reliability with similar systems for remote communities in northern Canada and Alaska. That has given us extra reassurance that their team has what it takes to deliver this complex project in harsh Arctic conditions and that their technology will provide us with reliability and security of supply.”

The purchase of the giant battery is the start of developing Longyearbyen into a zero-emission society.

Longyearbyen is located in the high Arctic, at 78° North. With winter temperatures that can drop below -40°C, Saft is planning to overcome logistics challenges by scheduling transportation of systems in warmer months. In addition, it will carry out final commissioning during the winter to demonstrate to Longyearbyen Council that the system can withstand the intense Arctic winter.

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