Battery storage as a catalyst for future energy development?

Battery storage as a catalyst for future energy development?



Today and every day we read in the specialist media that the further development of the energy sector is linked to decentralisation, decarbonisation and the accelerating development of renewable energy sources (RES). It is the intermittent RES that represent a major challenge for the electricity systems of all developed countries.

The transmission and distribution system needs stability and predictability. Therefore, it is safe to say that the future of the energy sector will not be without storage systems to help maintain stability and quality of supply. Energy storage systems are based on a variety of technologies, including Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS). It is therefore clear that energy storage systems will become an integral part of the energy system of the future.

So whoever can figure out how to store electricity efficiently on a commercial scale will conquer the world. The old adage is becoming a reality. Battery electricity storage is a promising solution. They can store surplus electricity for when it is needed. In this way, they help to balance supply and demand for electricity, which, according to the golden rule of energy, must always be in balance.

Let's take a look at electricity storage in Europe by type and number:

Battery storage
The predominant technology today is lithium-ion batteries, which are based on similar technology to conventional consumer rechargeable batteries as we know them from domestic use. However, there are other types of battery storage, such as flow batteries, which are large-volume storage devices with longer lifetimes.

Mechanical energy storage
This category is represented by pumped storage hydropower plants. Energy is stored in the form of water, which is moved to a higher position by means of surplus electricity, from which it is in turn fed down to the turbine blades when it is needed to supply the grid. But energy can also be stored in the form of compressed air, for example, which is stored in large reservoirs. A relatively common mechanical means of storing energy is the long-established flywheel.

Thermal storage
A typical thermal storage system can be imagined as a solar tower which, by reflecting the sun's rays through a system of mirrors, concentrates the sun's energy in a single location and stores the resulting heat in, for example, molten salt. The energy is later used to heat the water, which in turn produces steam, which then powers a turbine to generate electricity.

This technology, not yet widely used, is based on converting surplus electricity into gaseous fuels (hydrogen or methane) which are then injected into the natural gas distribution system, thus storing the energy for use when it is needed. Synthetic methane is also sometimes produced from the hydrogen during further processing.

The chart above shows the performance of active electricity storage in each country. As can be seen, the number is not the only important parameter, the UK is significantly behind here compared to the previous statistics. While on the one hand, the absence of carbon emissions in electricity generation, and possibly self-sufficiency, is an undeniable advantage of solar and wind power plants, on the other hand, they also have problems arising from the intermittency of production. This is, of course, due to their dependence on the weather, which means that they cannot produce energy continuously and sometimes produce too much. The grid must therefore be able to react to these fluctuations and flexibly increase or decrease the supply of electricity to the grid.

So far, grid flexibility has been addressed mainly by gas-fired and, to some extent, coal-fired power plants with fast ramp-up and power regulation. As I have pointed out before, this way of providing flexibility in the grid will become less important in the future as the share of fossil sources in the total capacity decreases. Renewables, on the other hand, will grow and so the flexibility to balance the balance between instantaneous supply and consumption on the grid will need to be further strengthened. This is why energy storage is such a hot topic.
The European Commission expects that during this decade, EU countries will still make greater use of conventional power plants and cross-border interconnections between national grids to smooth grid fluctuations. However, the EU's forecast clearly relies on electricity storage to grow rapidly in importance by 2030. Today, about 90 gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity of pumped storage and battery storage is in operation or at least at some stage of design in Europe. But by the end of the decade, Europe will need up to 110 GW, according to a study from the European Commission. The increase should mainly be provided by batteries. Why batteries, you ask? For one thing, they offer the possibility of essentially instantaneous power supply in the event of a prolonged or widespread blackout. They are also relatively low-maintenance in terms of their location, and you can deploy them in the form of standard containers virtually anywhere. Moreover, in these days of great emphasis on the environmental friendliness of new technologies, battery systems have a great advantage in environmental safety - they do not emit any unwanted substances into the environment.

As part of our corporate business strategy, we at Greenbuddies Charging firmly believe that battery storage installations will increasingly become an integral part of complete solutions for the construction of solar power plants or charging infrastructure to support electromobility.



Every month in the Newsletter we bring you tips and interesting facts about photovoltaics and charging infrastructure in general. You will find out news about our projects, collaborations, as well as the internal life of Greenbuddies.

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