Battery storage systems are emerging as a potential solution for integrating solar and wind renewables in power systems across the globe. The systems have the unique capability to absorb quickly, hold, and then reinject electricity.
In this context, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) recently published a report showing how electricity storage technologies can be used for several applications in the power sector, ranging from e-mobility and behind-the-meter (BTM) applications to utility-scale. According to the study, utility-scale batteries can enable a greater feed-in of renewables into the grid by firming renewable energy output.
“Battery storage systems can provide instantaneous response to transmission-distribution network systems to manage any variability caused by generation from renewable energy sources,” the report states.
If these batteries are paired together with renewable generators, they help to provide reliable and cheaper electricity in isolated grids and to off-grid communities. Most of the time, these grids rely on imported diesel fuel for electricity generation. Currently, utility-scale battery storage systems are popular in countries like Australia, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and other European countries.
These battery storage systems are connected to the distribution network and can be directly controlled by the distribution system operator.
According to the report, one of the largest systems in terms of capacity is the Tesla 100 MW/129 MWh Li-ion battery storage project at Hornsdale Wind Farm in Australia. In the U.S.-State of New York, a high-level demonstration project using a 4 MW/ 40 MWh battery storage system showed that the operator could reduce almost 400 hours of congestion in the power grid and save up to $2.03 million in fuel costs.
Citing an example of Hawaii, the report states that on the island, nearly 130 MWh of battery storage systems have been implemented to provide better services for solar and wind energy.
IRENA’s report also states that globally, energy storage deployment in emerging markets is expected to increase by over 40% every year until 2025.
Likewise, installations of behind-the-meter batteries are on the rise globally. The behind-the-meter batteries are connected behind the utility meter of commercial, industrial, or residential customers to save electricity bills.
“This increase has been driven by the falling costs of battery storage technology, due to the growing consumer market and the development of electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEVs), along with the deployment of distributed renewable energy generation and the development of smart grids,” added the report.
Behind-the-meter storage systems can replace diesel generators in renewable energy-based mini-grids. They can be used to provide back-up power when renewable generation is not available, as well as frequency and voltage to support the renewables’ variability.
In January 2020, Mercom reported that in the year 2019, global venture capital (VC) funding for battery storage, smart grid, and efficiency companies totaled to totaled $2.3 billion compared to $2.8 billion raised in 2018. These numbers were revealed in the annual and Q4 funding and M&A report by Mercom Capital Group.
Earlier, it was reported that the World Bank approved $300 million in loans for the China Renewable Energy and Battery Storage Promotion Project to increase the integration and utilization of renewable energy. This project is part of the World Bank Group’s September 2018 commitment to significantly increase support to battery storage solutions globally through a $1 billion battery storage investment program. The World Bank Group has already established a new international partnership – the Energy Storage Partnership (ESP) – a platform where countries can share lessons and experiences from China’s deployment of batteries in power systems.
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Anjana is a news editor at Mercom India. Before joining Mercom, she held roles of senior editor, district correspondent, and sub-editor for The Times of India, Biospectrum and The Sunday Guardian. Before that, she worked at the Deccan Herald and the Asianlite as chief sub-editor and news editor. She has also contributed to The Quint, Hindustan Times, The New Indian Express, Reader’s Digest (UK edition), IndiaSe (Singapore-based magazine) and Asiaville. Anjana holds a Master’s degree in Geography from North Bengal University, and a diploma in mass communication and journalism from Guru Ghasidas University, Bhopal.