A world first hybrid renewables trial, pairing a grid-connected wind farm with lithium-ion battery storage and energy management software, has been switched on in Spain, in a bid to boost the integration of variable-generation renewables into electricity networks around the world.
The project, led by Spanish wind energy giant Acciona, will use in-house developed “simulation” software to control the battery storage systems at a specially developed hybrid power plant, which is located next to Acciona’s experimental wind farm at Barasoain (Navarra).
The storage system has two batteries in separate containers: one a fast-response 1MW/0.39MWh battery that can maintain 1MW of power for 20 minutes; the other a slower-response battery with greater autonomy that can maintain 0.7 MW for 1 hour.
Both of the Samsung SDI-supplied batteries will be connected to a 3MW Acciona wind turbine – one of five that make up the Barasoain Experimental Wind Farm – and will store energy produced by the turbine when required.
The installation also has three other units: one for medium voltage cells and analyzers, another for inverters/chargers and a transformer (installed by Ingeteam, a company participating in the project), and a third for the control and monitoring equipment.
Acciona says that he main aim of the trial is to use the software and grid-connected storage solutions to optimise the quality of the wind energy that is sent to the grid.
It will also test the plants ability to provide ancillary services to the electric power system – necessary to maintain a continuous balance between supply and demand – and to shift supply to match periods of higher demand, thus improving the economic performance of the wind farm.
The project has received funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which manages the Spanish Centre for Industrial Development (CDTI).
And the Acciona-developed software – or ‘ADOSA’ (Analysis, Dimensioning and Optimisation of Storage Systems) – recently won the top prize from the Spanish Wind Energy Association, in the field of R&D.
“The application of electric power storage systems using batteries connected to wind farms and solar plants is a field with great growth potential due to the major development of renewable energies worldwide, lower battery technology prices and improved efficiency,” Acciona said in a media statement on Tuesday.
“Although still in an early phase, this kind of solution is demonstrating that it is ideal not only for domestic applications or grids with poor connections (islands, weak grids) but also for utility-scale applications in developed countries, with a focus on increasing the penetration of variable renewables in power grids without losing quality or security, and on adapting electricity supplies at times of higher demand.
“Basically, it is about improving the flexibility of electric power systems to incorporate greater renewable capacity, in a context of a shift towards a low-carbon energy mix in which fossil fuels will be gradually replaced by clean technologies,” Acciona said.