Integration of renewable energy sources into power grids is an ever-growing imperative for utilities. Indeed, renewables account for more than 70% of new power generated each year. However, integration of variable renewable energy can give rise to a whole host of technical challenges and new applications, including intermittency issues, system balancing and managing the load profile. Any of these issues can frustrate utilities in their mission to generate sufficient power for the grid, leading to supply problems, huge balancing costs and reduced profitability.
Fortunately, energy storage systems can help solve the transition puzzle, ensuring consistent power flow as well as balancing supply and demand. However, energy storage systems need to be properly integrated, intelligent and responsive to what’s happening on the grid and at the source in order to maximise system performance and cost efficiency.
Perfect partners: Renewables and storage
No two challenges are the same or will require the same solution. It’s important to develop a unique solution comprised of the best hardware, software and service provision. Yet when it comes to the challenge of renewable integration, energy storage technology could be a constant.
Supply issues occur, whether it’s on the grid or for a largescale industrial application, when the available power can’t meet demand. This is a common problem in energy systems that rely only on renewables for their power. When the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining, renewable sources can struggle to generate new power.
However, when there is an abundance of energy available it is often wasted as the system is at its peak capacity. A grid operator may decide to curtail production to protect grid stability, meaning the energy has nowhere to go. Fortunately, energy storage technology, such as largescale batteries, provides a space for this excess power to be stored for when it is needed most. When there are supply issues, this stored energy can then be diverted to the system, overcoming the challenge of renewable energy intermittency. In this way, battery storage is the most cost-effective option for safe and successful integration of renewables.
Energy storage can also be utilised to shift peak generation from the PV system as energy demand fluctuates. This saves energy during periods when demand is low. Installed storage captures solar energy and allows local utilities to be more independent in their energy mix. Such energy shifting enables organisations to get the maximum revenue from their solar estate, enabling higher DC/AC ratios for PV plants as well as time-variant grid injection.
A smarter solution
Battery storage is a crucial component in the transition to a cleaner, renewable-powered energy system. However, hardware is only one part of the equation. It still needs to be supported by various software systems.
To intelligently balance supply with demand, a software layer needs to be present to ‘talk’ to the battery storage system and make it aware when power should be stored or released. Otherwise, a ‘dumb’ or inert battery storage system won’t work to its full potential and may even become a source of waste. By combining energy storage systems with smart energy management and control systems, performance as well as cost efficiency can be greatly maximised.
Advanced software systems, including specialised algorithms, can add further efficiencies. For example, it’s possible to monitor power flows and help with balancing services like demand response and peak power shaving. By supplementing these with a SCADA system, the performance of all energy systems can be properly tracked and tweaked as needed.
Achieving the renewable energy transition is no easy task, but a utility doesn’t need to tackle it alone. Expert systems’ engineers can carry out the busywork of design, installation and integration, leaving utilities to focus on what’s important – getting power to those who need it. It’s the confluence of factors – energy storage system hardware components (battery and power conversion system), intelligent software, and expert service – that solves the energy transition puzzle and helps build a smart renewable energy system.
About Trina Storage
Trina Storage, business unit of Trina Solar, is a global energy storage system provider dedicated to transforming the way we provide energy. Our mission is to lead the renewable energy transition through cost-effective storage and to provide Solar For Everyone by expanding solar generation at scale. Building on 20+ years of solar experience, we deliver cost-effective and flexible solutions to utilities and developers around the world.
More information at Trina Storage website.
About Trina Solar
Over 20 years Trina Solar has been evolving from a top class PV module supplier to the world’s leading PV and smart energy total solutions provider, with PV products, system solutions and smart energy. The company manufactures, sells and does research and development on PV products, EPC and O&M as well as smart micro-grid and multi-energy complementary systems and energy cloud-platform operations. Trina Solar has a presence in more than 100 countries and regions, including regional headquarters in Zurich, San Jose, Miami, Tokyo, Singapore, Dubai. The company operates eight manufacturing bases and more than 40 branches and has more than 12,000 employees worldwide.
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