A 90MW battery energy storage system (BESS) project was officially put into operation in Germany last week, the largest implementation of its kind in the country.
Germany’s transition to sustainable energy, the Energiewende, is resulting in increasing fluctuations in energy supply due to the intermittent nature of wind and solar power. Fluctuations can also be caused by unexpectedly higher or lower energy consumption, errors in electricity forecasts and power plant failure.
Fluctuations of ten millihertz or more must be immediately evened out otherwise they could cause damage to electrical systems and result in blackouts.
This load regulation has traditionally been carried out by conventional generation based on fossil fuels.
The new battery systems will provide load balancing services with operating reserve. Each BESS will even out frequency fluctuations within seconds by feeding energy into the grid in scenarios where the frequency is too low or storing it when frequency is too high. They will also provide a minimum 30 minutes operating reserve.
“The battery storage system makes an important contribution to the Energiewende,” said North Rhine-Westphalia’s Minister of Economic Affairs, Garrelt Duin.
“Firstly, it stabilizes the electricity network and increases supply security. On the other hand, fossil fuel savings are reduced. In the current energy environment with a high dynamics of change, we welcome the investments made by STEAG, especially in the light of the fact that the project is implemented without subsidies. It shows that good ideas can be quickly developed into market readiness with determined action. ”
Further information on how the STEAG large battery systems work can be viewed here.
Germany’s Energiewende calls for 55 to 60 percent renewable energy by 2035. As it did with solar power, Germany is leading the way with energy storage – both large and small scale.
EuPD Research forecasts between 23,000 and 25,000 storage systems to have been installed in Germany by the end of 2016. The vast majority of these will be small solar battery systems.
The country’s leading energy storage manufacturer is Sonnen with a market share of 27%. Sonnen battery systems have also been gaining popularity in Australia, capturing approximately 13% of the local market.