Energy storage – Why do we need it?

2012-08-28 - Energy storage is not a new concept in itself. It has been an integral component of electricity generation, transmission and distribution systems for well over a century. Traditionally, energy storage needs have been met by the physical storage of fuels for fossil-fuelled power plants, and by the use of generated power in pumped hydro storage schemes.

By ABB Communications

Recently the power landscape has shifted towards greater use of renewable energy in the form of wind and solar. Although this type of power generation is more sustainable, it makes delivering reliable power, on demand, a major challenge.

Wind and solar power installations generate power only intermittently and with a highly variable output. When the wind is blowing or the sun is shining, excess power should be stored and made available during suboptimal generating conditions or during peak demand. This requirement has led to greater demand for alternative energy storage facilities to support the grid.

Such fundamental changes in the architecture and controllability of the grid calls for smart, efficient power transmission and distribution networks. These require the storage of energy at appropriate times and locations, both to balance generation with consumption and to maintain grid stability.

The right energy storage solution for the job
ABB’s track record in the delivery of energy storage solutions includes pumped hydropower schemes going back over a century and more than a decades experience in battery energy storage systems.

ABB’s technologies cover a wide range of power needs from tens of kilowatts up to hundreds of megawatts and continue to be deployed by utilities, industrial customers and rail operators around the world. These facilities help balance power demands and supplies, stabilizing network voltages and frequencies, providing power bridges to support short-term gaps, and safe shutdown and back-up needs. These solutions are designed to enhance flexibility, increase energy securities and minimize environment impacts.

Delivering energy storage solutions worldwide
Examples of our recent installations worldwide include, Switzerland, Sweden and the U.K.

Switzerland’s largest battery energy storage project
ABB recently commissioned the largest battery energy storage project of its kind in Switzerland with EKZ, a leading distribution utility and one of the largest energy companies in Switzerland.

To provide additional power to the grid on demand, ABB supplied and installed a battery energy storage solution using Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries that can provide one megawatt of power during 15 minutes.

The storage facility is integrated into EKZ’s power distribution network and is being used to evaluate performance in key areas such as balancing peak loads and intermittent power supply, and the viability of the solution for grid optimization.

Battery energy storage increases the role of renewables in Sweden
Falbygdens Energi is a Swedish utility with a significant portion of wind power connected to the grid in the Swedish city of Falköping.

ABB was selected to supply an innovative dynamic energy storage solution for the utility’s power distribution network, to maximize the integration of renewables into the power chain. For this project, we utilized our battery energy storage expertise to store locally produced energy from wind turbines to create a storage capacity of 75 kW in cycles of up to 60 minutes. The stored energy will then be used to stabilize the grid and help balance peak loads during the day.

Dynamic energy storage installation in the UK
ABB recently worked with UK Power Networks, which supplies power to over eight million homes and businesses in the UK, to develop a dynamic energy storage solution. The installation enables renewable energy generated by local wind power plant to be fed into the power network when needed. It also ensures that some of the energy is kept in reserve to regulate power flow to compensate for the intermittence of wind power and to support power quality in the event of a fault.

To meet these needs, ABB implemented a turnkey DynaPeaQ® solution, incorporating SVC Light®, which included eight stacks of 13 Li-ion battery modules located in an 11 kV grid.

Together, these high-power density modules can store up to 200 kilowatt hours kWh of electrical energy.

The installation provides dynamic voltage control in the distribution system and, at the same time, enables dynamic storage of surplus energy from the wind power plant. This surplus energy is used to level out peaks in grid loading to provide grid stability.

Energy Storage - Keeping smart grids in balance
Watch an interview with Stephen Clifford - Energy Storage team leader within ABB Smart Grids Industry Sector Initiative (ISI).

To learn more about ABB's energy storage solutions and other power products visit ABB at Cigré 2012 - Shaping a stronger, smarter and greener power grid at the Palais des Congrès, Porte Maillot, Paris, France from August 27 - 31, 2012

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