When the wind does not blow….

If you have a large proportion of wind turbines providing the power to the electricity grid, maybe in parallel with solar farms, and the wind suddenly dies down at sunset, when the solar power really subsides, you have a crisis – just as the evening peak energy demand develops. This is despite the fact that through the day the wind blew hard and the sun shone, and there was a surfeit of green energy available.

The answer has to be that you store that daytime energy, and bring it out of the store in the evening. There is much research going on to find more efficient ways of dealing with this “peak shaving” to fill up the troughs in the supply. Back on 18 December 2015 this blog reported on the Yokogawa control system in Northern Ireland that drives a peak shaving system that puts energy into a big (mechanical) fly-wheel! Really ultra-modern technology successfully driving C19 mechanics.

So there is now a US press release that advises that AES Corporation has signed a deal with Eaton Inc, for Eaton to sell the AES Energy Storage technology in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

So who are ‘AES’ ?

As with any press release, it is difficult to actually understand what is actually available, and what it is based on. The ‘AES’ letters, undefined on their website, seem to relate to a company providing Alternative Energy Systems, wherever they might be profitable, be it coal, oil, gas, bio-fuels or other power generation methods. Their new offering is of the Advancion (sic) Energy Storage platform, which is what Eaton will be selling: “Eaton will supply the energy storage systems, provide support and ensure long-term operation directly to utilities, industrial and commercial customers, independent power producers and power system operators across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA).”

AES says that ‘Energy storage has become a key factor in helping countries manage both grid stability, as renewable energy sources continue to be integrated into the grid, as well as peak demand, limiting the need to build dedicated peaking power plants and minimizing CO2 emissions. The energy storage market is therefore entering a new growth phase and Navigant Research (www.navigantresearch.com) projects that more than 11GW of energy storage capacity will be installed annually by 2020 in 22 countries.’

Installations in Europe


The Netherlands-based UPS battery storage facility, and staff.

Advancion systems have been installed in two arrays in Europe, located in The Netherlands and in Northern Ireland. These are described in a recent AES.com press release. “Advancion 4, released November 2015, is a complete, battery-based alternative to traditional peaking power plants and pumped hydroelectric storage projects that provides a dependable, smart and cost-competitive means to modernize power systems. It features best-in-class Advancion pre-certified suppliers, including Samsung SDI, who supplied the array with more than 45,000 batteries in its first Advancion deployment. Additional project suppliers and partners include the inverter supplier Parker Hannifin.”  So the Advancion system would appear to be a rather large battery-backed UPS.

The Netherlands facility will provide 10MW of interconnected energy, providing balancing services to the electricity grid in The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Austria via the TenneT system. In addition to the Netherlands array, AES recently completed its Kilroot Advancion Array in Northern Ireland, also providing 10 MW of interconnected energy storage.

AES quotes that it introduced the first grid-scale advanced battery-based energy storage solution in commercial power market service in 2008, presumably in the USA, and claims to operate the largest fleet of battery-based storage assets in service today.

(c) Nick Denbow, Processingtalk.info