Combining Battery Storage with Pump Hydro

Combining Battery Storage with Pump Hydro

Bavaria in southern Germany – which already sources 43% of its energy generation from renewables – last week saw the unveiling of a new multi-million euro project consisting of a battery storage system combined with a pump storage hydro plant operated by multi-national utility Engie.

The event was attended by the Bavarian state minister for economic affairs, energy, and technology Franz Josef Pschierer and with the ongoing phase out of nuclear power across Germany, Pschierer said ensuring security of energy supply as variable renewable generation increases its penetration on the grid is vital.

“New technologies like battery storage with short reaction time complement the existing proven technologies and are a key element for the future energy system,” the minister said, adding that “our goal is to reduce CO2 [emissions] as much as possible without jeopardising our competitiveness”.

Engie Deutschland which have invested 20million euros in the site as part of a precondition that comprehensive upgrades were required for the company to continue operating pumped hydro storage at Kraftwerksgruppe Pfriemd, a power plant network of three reservoirs, one run-of-river hydro and two pumped hydro facilities.

As well as the upgrading works Engie constructed a 12.5MW battery storage system at the site. The new technology consists of almost 40,000 batteries housed in 180 racks, with each battery approximately 67kWh in capacity. Three 20kV transformers feed power into the local grid and are maintained and operated by network operator Bayernwerke AG.

The lithium storage facility including battery management system was supplied by engineering multinational Siemens, built on the company’s Siestorage containerised battery energy storage platform. The batteries will provide primary balancing services, helping to mitigate fluctuations in frequency within 30 seconds of receiving a signal from the grid, aiding the integration of variable renewable energy sources.

According to Engie, the existing pumped storage plant being fitted with batteries is itself responsible for about 5% of all balancing power delivered to Germany’s grid network and about 1% of total balancing power in Western Europe’s transmission network.

The integration of battery storage and pump storage hydro makes sense both economically and environmentally. The batteries can capture any excess energy produced by the hydro turbines and import it to the grid at times when smaller amounts are required. They are also housed within the hydro facility saving on space and helping preserve the landscape.

As renewable energy generation continues to rise throughout the world more storage facilities will be required to harness the full potential of the renewable sources. With that in mind more innovative hybrid projects will be developed which is another positive step in creating global safe, clean energy generation.

ILI Group are currently taking three pump storage hydro sites with the capability of additional battery storage through the planning system in Scotland. It is our aim to bring 1.2GW of storage capacity to the UK energy market.

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