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Energy Storage and the de-carbonisation

DNV GL sees a key role for new technologies

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An array of sodium sulphur (NaS) batteries
An array of sodium sulphur (NaS) batteries

Energy storage will be one of the key strategic elements of future power systems, playing a central role in the de-carbonisation of energy production.

In general, the energy storage market is closely tied to growth in electricity consumption, which provides opportunities for storage to delay adding capacity or keep demand charge down. When renewable power generation is added to match increased consumption, storage helps in both buffering its adverse impact on the grid as well as enhancing its benefits (time shifting). Therefore, knowing the trends in global growth of energy consumption (particularly power) is the first step to predict the extent and geographic spread of energy storage markets.

The value of energy storage technologies is found in the services that they provide at different points in the energy system. They can be used throughout the power grid, in dedicated cooling networks for example, and in distributed system and off-grid applications. Energy storage technology will also be essential in achieve high penetration of renewables.

DNV GL expectsthat most of the expansion in energy storage will be in the form of distributed energy storage (DES). These units would be deployed either near renewable generation sites or load centers on either side of the utility meter. Today, depending on the type of storage application, the challenges for deployment may be cost, technology and regulatory barriers but all three are being surmounted.

When it comes to controls and operational expertise, we continue to face three main groups of stakeholders who benefit from grid-connected storage and want to influence its operational controls for their benefit. Utilities or any future entity responsible for the flexibility and reliability of the power grid; Customers or consumers connected to the future grid for daily or occasional exchange of energy; And third party or market for ancillary services.

This ‘trilemma’ needs to be considered and resolved at all major steps of an energy storage project, from definition of the problem, selecting the storage site, storage technology, system integration and, most importantly, the design of the complex operational control to fulfill all the promised benefits for the three main stakeholders.

Typical DES technologies may includeSodium Sulphur (NaS), advanced lead acid, NaNiCl, hybrids (lead acid and super capacitors) and high-energy li-ion batteries. Feasibility of a storage technology depends on many factors including the ability to meet application requirements at the expected size, technology maturity as a complete solution, cost and location on the grid.

Thermal energy storage is highly relevant for the Middle East and can provide the means to temporarily shift rising cooling demand, reducing the stress on the energy system. In the short term, ice storage systems represent a viable technology option for distributed thermal energy storage in many markets and have been widely used to date in the USA. Commercial refrigeration systems may also provide significant demand response services.

The deployment of batteries and other types of energy storage technologies in the Middle East could be aided through the further development of a transparent regulatory framework, documentation and communication of current system cost and performance information (through benchmarking), as well as the sharing of best practices for installation and operation.

DNV GL has initiated the GRIDSTOR Joint Industry Project, which aims to accelerate the implementation of grid-connected energy storage systems through the creation of a Recommended Practice (RP) for system safety, operation and performance.

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