When batteries beat traditional power

The largest commercial battery storage system in Europe, commissioned by WEMAG in Schwerin, Germany, is proving that battery energy storage can beat traditional power for grid frequency regulation. Photo credit: Younicos

The largest commercial battery storage system in Europe, commissioned by WEMAG in Schwerin, Germany, is showing that battery energy storage can beat traditional power for grid frequency regulation. Photo credit: Younicos

Battery storage is usually seen as being a handy adjunct to help renewable energy square up to traditional power plants. But on frequency regulation, at least, it seems batteries may actually be better than the generation sources they are helping to supplant.

That, at least, is the consensus emerging from early operating experience at Europe’s largest commercial battery power plant, the 5MWh lithium-ion facility that WEMAG has commissioned from Younicos in Schwerin, Germany.

“Whereas coal-fired and other thermal plants typically take up to 30 seconds to adjust production up or down, and then just hit the neighbourhood of where they are supposed to be, batteries react within milliseconds,” explains Philip Hiersemenzel of Younicos.

The fact that batteries might beat traditional power plants for frequency regulation has long been touted as a big selling point for battery storage and has already helped sell projects in the US.

Now the performance of WEMAG’s installation is strengthening that business case.
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