Big Battery vs. the Big Chill: Saft deploying 7-MWh Energy Storage to Svalbard Archipelago

March 11, 2022
The Saft BESS will be located near the town’s coal-fired power station and provide reserve capacity as well as backup power for black start capability. The Longyearbyen coal-fired plant is due to be closed next year

French utility-scale battery system developer Saft has won a contract to deliver a 6-MW/7-MWh lithium-ion project on the northernmost settlement of the Norwegian Svalbard island group.

Saft will provide power conversion and control technologies as part of its turnkey contact to deploy the battery energy storage system in Longyearbyen. Completion is expected late this year.

The Saft BESS will be located near the town’s coal-fired power station and provide reserve capacity as well as backup power for black start capability. The Longyearbyen coal-fired plant is due to be closed next year, according to reports.

At that point, the Saft BESS will also provide voltage and frequency control to integrate both diesel generators and growing capacity of renewables.

“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,” Joachim Karlsen, manager of the project for the Longyearbyen town council. “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.”

Longyearbyen leaders want to transition the remote area to zero emissions. However, the community is located in the high Arctic at 78 degrees North latitude (the North Pole is at 90 degree N), with winter temperatures close to minus 40 degree Celsius (also -40* Fahrenheit).