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Combining Batteries and Renewable Energy

Published at 16. 10. 2018 | Written by Tibor Tarabek

Global renewable capacity has consistently risen over the past several years. In a study published on the 2nd of October 2018, business consultancy firm Frost & Sullivan reported that by the end of this year, 154.6 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable power capacity will have been installed globally. The greatest share will come from solar photovoltaics (PV) with almost 90 GW of new additions, followed by 53 GW of energy coming from wind. Altogether, wind and solar will provide more than 92% of newly installed renewable capacity through 2018.

Effective Demand Response on Public Power Grids

As renewable energy becomes an ever greater part of our electricity mix, we’re facing a new set of challenges, with perhaps the most pressing issue being the inconsistency of green energy resources and its mismatch of daily production and demand graphs. We’ve discussed the issue in our recent article on the duck curve. Today, we look at how accumulation (batteries) may prove to be valuable in stabilizing power grids.

Batteries are a form of energy storage that can both take electric energy from the power grid and load it back when demanded. They provide a stabilizing element as they can inject a precise amount of electricity to cover shortfalls created by blackouts or loss of generators, thus maintaining power in the grid.
Batteries are capable of responding more quickly to such problems than coal, gas or hydroelectric power. Furthermore, power plants have inertia. For instance, once a turbine is set in motion to generate power, it has to remain running in order to create cost-effective energy. On the other hand, batteries can adjust the power they generate dynamically.

Located near Jamestown, South Australia, the Hornsdale Power Reserve is a giant 129 MWh battery, the largest of its kind in the world. It was built partially in response to a statewide blackout that struck South Australia in September 2016. Although the battery’s output may seem insignificant in comparison to South Australia’s peak energy demand of about 3000 MW, its ability to provide near-instant energy in case of emergencies makes it incredibly valuable to the people of South Australia.

In December 2017, the Hornsdale battery reactedto a coal plant crash in milliseconds, preventing another costly blackout for the people of South Australia. Not only does it prevent blackouts, but it also allows its proprietor, Neoen, the French renewables giant, to sell energy at up to $14,000 AUD per MWh during peak demand and even get paid up to $1,000/MWh to charge the battery.

Pleased with the success of the Hornsdale battery, the government of South Australia has provided an AUD $5 million (USD $3.7 million grant for another 25 MW, 52 MWh). Earlier this year in Brisbane, renewable energy firm Lyon Group announced plans for a 100 MW/400 MWh battery storage system, as well. Australia’s national power grid will see the construction of more giant batteries, especially as Australians increasingly look towards green power (especially solar and wind) as a primary source of electric energy.

The concept behind giant batteries is not dissimilar from the idea behind smaller forms of energy storage, including home batteries. In fact, it can be readily adapted and modified to provide the same advantages on the level of individual households.
At FUERGY, we want to bring the capabilities of large power plants to smaller consumers, including households, small companies and public buildings (hospital, schools).

A home battery, a renewable energy generator (such as roof-mounted solar PVs) and a FUERGY Device is all you need to gain the advantages offered by large battery systems such as the Hornsdale plant. Thanks to the FUERGY Device, you can join the virtual network controlled by FUERGY’s genuine, AI-powered energy sharing software called brAIn. This software will automatically trade the excess energy generated by your solar PV with other FUERGY Users. In the New Energy Ecosystem, brAIn will optimize the energy consumption by selling user’s surplus energy when demand peaks, and load it when the price drops below a certain level.

Not only do FUERGY Devices save money for their owners, but they can provide an invaluable service in providing backup power in case of blackouts or power plant failures.
Their potential isn’t limited to the individual level; we believe that on a larger scale, larger communities of users can connect their FUERGY Devices into large and decentralized battery systems that will be capable of providing stability for entire towns or cities.

Accumulation will no doubt play an ever greater role as the world turns increasingly towards renewables in order to meet rising demand for energy. In Australia, they’ve already figured out the importance of combining renewable power plants with large battery systems. At FUERGY, we’ve scaled this solution down to a size suitable for homes, businesses or even entire buildings, bringing unprecedented stability and savings for all.

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