How battery storage plays a leading role in the Smart Grid
The energy revolution carries on, as renewable energy sources like wind power or photovoltaics are getting more ubiquitous. However, one significant disadvantage in regards to renewables is that the supply does not always meet the demand, as energy generation heavily depends on changing environmental factors such as the weather and climate. Connecting these energy sources directly to a battery storage system can help to handle the fluctuation in generated energy. To have a widespread dissemination of this decentralized flexibility at disposal will play a major role in getting renewables to make a breakthrough. But there are still some hurdles that prevent the widespread use of the valuable flexibility potential of these new technologies: Huge investments in the modernisation of the outdated grid need to be made and some of the energy market’s entry barriers need to be lowered. On the other hand, a new paradigm of regulations and standards need to be implemented.
Battery storage makes for more flexibility
Battery storage is a prerequisite for the energy revolution, but they are also a must for private and industry customers who consider decarbonizing their energy consumption. They also create a better bottom line, as battery storage has become more affordable in the past years, due to increased demand, which unlocks a new scope of applications. One major factor for establishing this technology is making use of flexibility of all players of the energy market.
Flexibility facilitates energy optimization
The amount of power generated by renewable sources can’t be adjusted to the demand or the market price. Through battery storage technologies, however, it is possible to create some flexibility on the consumer side as well. This flexibility can be used to benefit from periods of energy surplus with favorable electricity prices while mitigating bottlenecks. Energy suppliers and big industries are able to adapt to the new market circumstances by digitizing their operations and controlling loads with demand-side management.
On the other end, consumers can now optimize their energy balance, gain more independence in regards to grid electricity and even have a backup system in case of a blackout. A rule of thumb is that if you have a high rate of flexible power, you are able to draw cheaper energy from an intraday trading market and minimize the overall energy costs. With creating benefits on all sides, flexibility on the demand side is an important success factor for the long-term operation of sustainable energy systems.
Flexibility can cushion periods of peak load
Optimizing flexible energy can also be a beacon in the night when it comes to peak load hours. Let’s take an example, where a solar system acts like the energy supply and battery storage represents flexibility. Hereby, the charging of the battery does not just start with the break of dawn, but is adaptable to the grid condition. The electricity of the morning sun is first fed into the grid. Only in the electricity surplus hours around midday is solar electricity stored in the battery until it is fully charged. This way a grid-optimized battery is used to relieve the load on the power grid during all midday hours.
What is true in this user case, is also true for an entire energy system. Having system-wide access to stored energy that can be traded at an intraday market by an algorithm opens doors to all kinds of optimization. The grid can be easily relieved from hours of peak load, by anticipating power-intensive hours and regions. By lowering the energy cost for selected time slots, power suppliers can set incentives on the demand-side, which will result in a more evenly distributed power consumption.
Energy storage in Smart Grids
While integrating energy storage into traditional energy grid designs can still pose a challenge, the smart grid of the future will be built around them. Energy storage will need to get a distinct classification to create an effective regulatory and financial framework for usage within a smart grid system. When done right, energy storage technologies are able to provide significant opportunities to improve the efficiency and operation of the grid. Their ability to provide application-specific energy services enables them to respond quickly and effectively to signals throughout the smart grid. Therefore, having a widespread implementation of energy storage will play a vital role in the operation of the smart grid.
There are still some to-dos
One major issue holding renewables back is the outdated infrastructure of most electricity grids that just won’t change overnight. It was designed and built based on the type of energy generation that was common several decades ago, connecting huge power plants, which were mostly powered by fossil fuels. Renewables on the other hand have different properties like limited predictability and dispatchability and they mostly consist of a wide network of smaller power generation plants like wind and solar farms. The only way to counter this is to have huge investments in modernization of power grids, which need to be organized and financed by TSOs, energy suppliers and governments.
There are many wheels on the regulatory side that need to be set in motion too:
On the one hand, deregulation will result in increasing revenue streams, a higher grade of competition, and more accurate prices for storage services, which leads to a more cost-effective use of the flexibility potential of battery storage. On the other hand,
new regulations need to be set in place to ensure non-discriminatory access to the energy market and to have an updated system of surcharges and fees.
Modern Battery Storage Technology
It is important what happens at the superordinate level in regards to regulations, standards and modernization of the power infrastructure. But it’s also crucial to improve battery storage systems, because they will be paramount in the future smart grids. With this in mind, the Neoom battery storage systems were designed exactly to create savings through self consumption optimization and peak load coverage behind-the-meter. The dual mode of operation (covering peak loads as well as increasing the share of self-consumption) achieves the greatest possible reduction in electricity costs. The integrated energy management software NTUITY® intuitively controls and automates the entire energy infrastructure, independent of manufacturer and location. Consumers, generators and storage facilities can be monitored and controlled with NTUITY in real time at any time and from anywhere.
The improved efficiency and functionality of the storage modules is all well and good, but battery storage will only make a major contribution to achieving the energy revolution if it is widely deployed. This is only possible if further progress in this technology is made and both companies and private customers embark on this trend and rely on battery storage modules.
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