Energy Storage Technologies Will Help Change the Approach to Electricity Supply
In large cities, electricity is no longer perceived as a good thing, but rather as a fact of life and something commonplace. Power outages have become a rarity, and any failures or malfunctions occurred unnoticed by most townspeople.
However, today Russia has a large number of communities and even entire regions where electricity is an expensive and scarce resource. It is primarily about the isolated territories, the Far North and the Arctic Circle. There is no connection to the country’s Unified Energy System, and communities are supplied by diesel generation, perhaps the most expensive method of electricity generation. Sometimes, due to savings, in the villages, there is no light for most of the day. It is not uncommon for villages and settlements to have outages for most of the day because of the economy. Renewable energy sources play the first fiddle here.
To provide uninterrupted power in areas that are not connected to the central power supply, solar-diesel power plants with energy storage units are built. Such a connection ensures the continuity of the power supply. For example, during the day, when there is enough sunlight, the power plant runs directly on solar panels, the excess power is accumulated in industrial storage, and diesel generators are switched at night.
The use of accumulation systems will ensure a stable and reliable power supply to communities regardless of weather conditions, as well as in the morning and evening peaks of power consumption. Such a project is already being implemented by the RUSNANO Group and the Energosistemy Management Company. The construction of five autonomous hybrid power units (AHPU) in the decentralized power supply zone of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) will begin shortly. The AHPU includes a solar power plant (SPP), a diesel power plant (DPP), and an electric energy storage system (ESS). It is planned to use lithium-ion batteries produced in Russia by Liotech, a portfolio company of RUSNANO.
The development of energy storage technology will help to fundamentally transform the electric power industry. This is not just a local issue, like providing electricity to remote or isolated areas. This is beneficial for all participants in the energy market. Ultimately, the development of energy storage technologies will help to reduce the cost of hydrocarbon fuel, push the development of renewable energy sources, increase the reliability of electricity supply, reduce the cost of grid infrastructure, and for consumers, the price of electricity will become more affordable.
The energy storage technologies already exist in Russia, and right now they are being actively developed. For example, the Energy Storage Systems (ESS) Novosibirsk technological engineering company, created by the RUSNANO’s Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs, together with the Novosibirsk DC Systems develop, manufacture, and implement high-capacity energy storage devices. The equipment created by ESS together with the Institute of Power Electronics of the Novosibirsk State Technical University NETI has already been installed at the Burzyansk Solar Power Plant in Bashkiria, which is the largest energy storage facility in Russia. The batteries for this project were supplied by Liotech.
Now the main consumer of high-capacity storage is isolated power systems using renewable energy sources. However, this is not the only option for their operation. Storage tanks are needed in power systems with sharply variable load schedules, which are commonly used in oil and gas fields. The process of drilling a well requires a power source of much greater capacity than in the normal mode of operation of the field. That’s why such facilities are equipped with so-called “hot standby”. With the new storage tanks, these backup generators are not needed. They are also used to provide uninterrupted power in the event of a city grid outage. Such projects were implemented by Liotech in the Principal Plaza Business Center, in the Polymetal office, and at the Belorussky Railway Station in Moscow.
Another domestic company engaged in energy storage development is EnergoZapas, a startup of the SIGMA.Novosibirsk, nanocenter that is part of the investment network of the RUSNANO’s Fund Infrastructure and Educational Programs.
“Energozapas is the only company in Russia that develops solid-state storage power plants (SSPS) for industrial energy storage. The principle of the SSPS operation is based on the consumption of electricity at night when there is a surplus of it and the price is minimal. Just at this time, the unit lifts the load to a height of several hundred meters, and during the day it generates electricity by lowering the load by gravity.
Unlike pumped-storage power plants, SSPS does not require a water source or elevation gradient. It can be built on any flat terrain. The structure is resistant to wind and seismic loads and is environmentally friendly. The cycle efficiency is at least 80%, and the service life is 50 years.
Solid-state storage power plants are considered very promising. According to forecasts, already by 2025, the growth of the world market of energy storage devices will reach USD 80 bln, and the SSPS will account for 10%.
Whatever energy storage technologies are, their further development is impossible without a clear legislative framework. That’s why Energy Storage Systems together with the Novosibirsk State Technical University NETI, with the support of the RUSNANO’s Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs, developed the first national standards for the design, testing, and operation of high-power electric energy storage units. The standards went into effect on November 1, 2020, and apply, among other things, to the systems that are designed for stand-alone operation with the ability to be connected to the electric grid.
The development of standards was aimed, among other things, at integrating storage units into the unified energy system and creating a developed infrastructure.
“The energy storage market in Russia is just being formed; therefore, generating companies, enterprises, and grid companies, together with the scientific community, are creating the optimal image of storage systems, their structural composition, the functions they perform, and solving issues of electromagnetic compatibility with the general industrial grid and autonomous loads,” said Dmitriy Korobkov, one of the SNE developers and a leading design engineer at the Institute of Power Electronics of the NSTU NETI. “Our standards provide answers to these questions. If the storage tank is made according to the developed standards, it may be connected to the public network without fear that it will ruin anything.”
The developed standards also take into account and adapt the international requirements for market participants. This will help domestic developing companies to enter international markets.
Experts believe that the introduction of standards will be a driver of industry development. In 2021 it is planned to continue to work on the formation of the regulatory framework in this area.