energy storage system

Gridscale energy storage – enhancing electric energy storage efficiency

Gridscale energy storage - enhancing electric energy storage efficiency
We’ve prepared this comprehensive and in-depth article that sheds light on what a gridscale energy storage system is, types, examples, and exactly how it works.
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    It’s no secret that gridscale energy storage systems are increasingly becoming an important part of today’s electricity grid. And, it’s true that gridscale energy storage systems are packed with lots of benefits.

    In addition, it is the answer to one of the main obstacles facing renewable energy storage – intermittency. To understand this topic properly, we’ve prepared this comprehensive and in-depth article that sheds light on what a gridscale energy storage system is and exactly how it works.

    We’ve also gone the extra mile by including its advantages, challenges, and limitations to help you understand this topic on a whole new level.

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    What is a gridscale energy storage?

     

    A gridscale energy storage can be defined by three words – reliability, resilience, and flexibility.

    This energy storage system is used to store electric power which can then be used on an integrated power grid. And, its ability is to store electric power from renewable sources, e.g., wind power and solar.

    After storing enough power, the gridscale energy storage system then discharges it to the electric power grid when it is needed. It not only makes the power grid more reliable, resilient, and flexible but also cost-efficient to run.

    How is the energy stored on a gridscale energy storage system?

     

    Batteries (lithium-ion to be specific) are the most common way of storing electrical energy on a gridscale energy storage system. These batteries are electrochemical devices that can store electrical power from the power grid or from renewable sources.

    When the Li-ion batteries are charged, lithium ions move to the cathode from the anode. And, when the power grid is in need of more electrical power, the batteries will discharge energy, meaning lithium ions will move back to the anode from the cathode.

    Something worth noting is a Li-ion battery’s ability to hold more energy depends mainly on the number of ions it has.How is the energy stored on a gridscale energy storage system?

    Another reason why lithium-ion batteries are commonly used in gridscale energy storage systems is because of their efficiency. Li-ion batteries typically have a round-trip (charging and discharging) efficiency of about 90%.

    In other words, this means that for every 10 GWh of energy stored in Li-ion batteries, 9 GWh can be released back to the power grid when needed. In addition to their efficiency, lithium-ion batteries also have high energy density and a long life cycle, making them practical for this application.

    Benefits of gridscale energy storage systems

     

    Gridscale energy storage systems undoubtedly offer lots of benefits to the electrical power grid. Some of these benefits include:

    Improved grid reliability: Power outages in electrical power grids will happen sometimes. However, they are a huge inconvenience.

    Luckily, gridscale energy storage systems improve the reliability of these power grids by releasing energy whenever needed, e.g., during power outages. In other words, it helps power up the grid by acting as a power backup.

    The most fascinating thing about gridscale energy storage systems is their ability to restart the grid after a major outage – also known as the black start capability.

    Increased renewable energy integration: power grids can now incorporate renewable sources of energy thanks to gridscale energy storage systems. When electrical energy is produced in excess, it can be stored and later used to power a power grid.

    Enhanced resilience: due to climate change, extreme weather is now more frequent than before. And, it’s true that extreme weather does affect the production and supply of electric power.

    Having a gridscale energy storage system integrated into a power grid makes the power grid become more resilient by ensuring that power delivery is not disrupted after power outages.

    Lower electricity costs: gridscale energy storage systems are capable of lowering electricity costs by simply reducing (or completely doing away with) peaker power plants. Peaker power plants only run when the demand for electricity supply is high – which can be quite expensive to maintain.

    Types of gridscale energy storage

     

    As discussed earlier, there are several types of gridscale energy storage systems.
    Let’s take an in-depth look at them:

    Lithium-ion batteries

     

    Lithium-ion batteries can be used in gridscale energy storage systems. These batteries are rechargeable and they collect and store electrical energy from renewable sources or even the power grid itself.

    Grevault lithium battery energy storage
    Grevault lithium battery energy storage

    Li-ion batteries are highly efficient in the delivery of electrical power as their round-trip efficiency is about 90%. In addition, lithium-ion batteries have high energy density and a longer life span – they can last up to 10 years in a gridscale energy storage system.

    Li-ion batteries are also safe for gridscale energy storage systems as well as the environment because they have no emissions.

    Pumped hydro-storage

     

    This is yet another gridscale energy storage system that uses water to run. It requires two reservoirs of water which must be at different heights to store energy. When electricity is not being heavily used, it pumps water to the higher reservoir from the lower one.

    When the supply of electricity is in high demand, it then releases the water back to the lower reservoir. The kinetic energy in play here is then converted to electricity.

    This technology is cost-efficient in terms of maintenance and cost of storage that can power a gridscale energy storage system. It is reliable and produces a higher energy density at a specific location.

    However, compared with lithium battery energy storage, the limitations of pumped hydro storage are very large. Geographical adaptability and high upfront expenditure make it not widely promoted.

    How much energy can a gridscale energy storage system store?

     

    The maximum amount of energy that can a gridscale energy storage system can store mainly depends on the type of technology in use. Lithium-ion batteries can store up to 10 GWh (or more) of electric energy which is very impressive.

    And, since gridscale energy storage systems require lots of electrical energy to function well, it is reasonable to conclude that lots of Li-ion batteries connected to each other can store a lot of energy for the gridscale energy storage system.

    It is essential to note that the amount of energy a gridscale energy storage system can store mainly depends on its specific application.

    For example, a gridscale energy storage system that uses Li-ion batteries mainly for load shifting will need more energy storage capacity than those used for frequency regulation.

    How long do gridscale energy storage systems last?

     

    Gridscale energy storage systems that rely on battery energy do last for long. The longer the gridscale energy storage lasts, the better because it gets to amortize the initial capital cost.

    With that in mind, a Li-ion-based gridscale energy storage system can last more than 10 years! Li-ion batteries have a long lifespan thanks to their low maintenance needs and high cycle counts.

    It’s worth mentioning that a gridscale energy storage system’s lifespan is significantly affected by its specific application. If the storage system requires frequent cycling, its lifespan will certainly shorten.

    How are gridscale energy storage systems integrated into the electrical grid?

     

    There are three common ways that are used to integrate gridscale energy storage systems into an electrical power grid. Check them out:

    Virtual power plant: this technique requires the integration of multiple gridscale energy storage systems into a single one. It is then used to easily manage and distribute electric energy to the power grid during power outages or peak usage.

    Direct connection: directly connecting the gridscale energy storage system to the power grid is the most commonly used integration technique. It is connected to the power grid directly and it can power grids during power outages or even black start a grid.How are gridscale energy storage systems integrated into the electrical grid

    Behind-the-meter-integration: this integration technique is an ingenious one as it allows power companies to provide specific unique services to a customer. For example, a customer may want power backup in case of an outage while another may want a demand response.

    This technique enables the power company to provide these two services effectively and efficiently. It is usually connected behind the meter, just as its name suggests.

    What are some examples of gridscale energy storage projects?

     

    There are several successful gridscale energy storage projects across the world. Some of them include:

    ● Hornsdale Power Reserve – established in 2017 and located in Australia, this lithium-ion gridscale energy storage project can deliver a staggering 100MW/129MWh to an integrated power grid. Experts say that they expect this gridscale energy storage system to last for at least 15 years.

    ● Yaowang Pumped Hydro-storage – located in China, this gridscale energy storage system is capable of producing 2,400MW/4,500GWh which is super-impressive! This project is expected to last for at least 50 years.

    ● Green Mountain Power Project in Vermont is yet another successful Battery Energy Storage System that uses Li-ion batteries. It is capable of producing 4MW and was started in 2015.

    What are the challenges and limitations of gridscale energy storage?

     

    While gridscale energy storage systems are good and beneficial, they also have their downsides:

    ● Expensive to construct and integrate into a power grid.

    ● The positioning of gridscale energy storage facilities has a significant impact on how they’ll perform. As such, there is a great need for finding and developing suitable sites needed to integrate the gridscale energy storage system into a power grid which is quite scarce.Challenges and limitations of gridscale energy storage

    ● Pumped Hydro-Storage systems have a negative environmental impact. Constructing these reservoirs will require you to damage natural animal habitats by blocking or even diverting the natural course of a river.

    Can gridscale energy storage systems be used in residential or small-scale applications?

     

    Yes – gridscale energy storage systems can be used in residential and small-scale applications.

    However, not all gridscale energy storage systems can be used in this application. For small-scale applications, experts recommend using Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESSs) – the best one being lithium-ion batteries.

    Most residential or small-scale applications will require services such as power backup, load shifting, etc. Since they will not need a lot of energy storage capacity, it makes sense to use Li-ion batteries.

    You’ll be able to calculate the amount of energy required and know the number of batteries to install as well as how to integrate the gridscale energy storage system. These batteries will then go on to last for long with minimal maintenance costs after a successful installation and integration process.

    Conclusion

     

    In conclusion, gridscale energy storage systems are an important part of the electricity grid, providing reliability, resilience, and flexibility to address the challenges of renewable energy storage. Successful gridscale energy storage projects across the world have demonstrated their potential to transform the energy landscape.

    With advancements in technology and increased investment, gridscale energy storage systems have the potential to play a crucial role in achieving a sustainable and more resilient energy future.

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