Energy storage strategies for island power – Utility Dive

by | Aug 1, 2022 | Energy

Islands face unique challenges to ensure secure and cost-effective energy supply.
Isolated from typical supply lines, they require innovative solutions to reduce electricity costs, improve grid reliability, respond to urgent demands for resilient power systems and accelerate renewable energy deployment. 
As they seek to decrease dependence on unstable and costly fuel imports, islands face devastating storms that destroy critical infrastructure. The challenges were highlighted in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria in 2017 left broad swaths of the island in the dark for months — the longest and largest power outage in US history. 
To combat these challenges, islands are tapping solar, wind and geothermal energy. But as they pursue renewable resources, some regulators are raising concerns about the threat to grid reliability.

Energy storage bolsters grid reliability
When incorporated into an island’s grid, energy storage systems can support renewable energy integration, deliver frequency regulation and provide spinning reserve in lieu of expensive peaker power plants. The versatility and declining costs of battery energy storage systems (BESS) create a strong business case for deploying renewables and storage simultaneously.
Whether stand-alone or hybridized with renewable resource, BESS have millisecond response times to discharge energy on demand, giving operators control over ramp rates and frequency response to stabilize grids.

A BESS technology system.

Holistic planning untangles complex integration
Energy storage projects are technically more complex that PV systems. Each island’s distinctive characteristics — energy intensity, seasonal energy demands, interconnection process, policy/market frameworks — challenge a one-size-fits-all solution. 
Current and planned capacity of generation, storage, demand-side response and interconnections make for complex resource planning. Regulators and developers need to take a holistic approach, looking at each project from a larger, grid-solutions level.
Renewable energy penetration causes many changes on the grid which are managed with traditional methods on the mainland. As islands increase their renewable energy mix, typical power management requirements like ramp rate and frequency control are best solved with energy storage. When deploying renewable energy in some islands, like Puerto Rico, operators have developed operating standards – minimum technical requirements (MTR) – to manage intermittency of renewables. 

When these use cases are combined with energy arbitrage and peak load management, the value of renewable plus storage is maximized on islands. Project owners today look for BESS to shift renewable power two to four hours when the power plant is not operating. Future procurement tranches may seek extensions past four hours to cover extended time periods when wind and solar aren’t generating. 

DEPCOM team on-site during a BESS installation

Optimization yields BESS success
DEPCOM’s proprietary system optimization helps developers maximize returns on large-scale BESS. To apply battery technology in utility-scale applications successfully, we have developed sophisticated control and modeling concepts to achieve maximum performance and ROI.
Evaluating multiple battery technologies, design configurations and grid requirem …

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