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WEMAG AG is a German green energy and natural gas utility. It also operates a regional distribution grid in northern Germany through its subsidiary WEMAG Netz GmbH. WEMAG’s wind-swept grid already has an installed renewable generation capacity of more than 800 megawatts. In 2014 these assets generated more than 100 percent of the energy volume distributed to consumers in the 8,600 km² grid area.
The increasing volume of clean, but intermittent energy feed-in to the grid disrupts the short-term balance between production and consumption. Such fluctuations have to be compensated through the use of positive or negative frequency regulation power. The problem: Conventional thermal power plants have to run at about 60 percent of their production capacity to have enough upward and downward flexibility for providing frequency regulation. This so-called “must-run” capacity clogs grids and forces renewable generation units to be taken offline.
Large-scale batteries have proven to be a commercially attractive means of making the grid more flexible and efficient. Among other things, they can provide frequency regulation faster and more accurately than conventional power plants. We thus built a 5 MW/5 MWh battery power plant for WEMAG. The battery park is housed in a hall the size of a school gym. Inside, 1,600 battery “trays” contain 25,600 lithium-manganese-oxide cells that can store and release energy within milliseconds. Five medium-voltage transformers connect the units to the grid. The battery park will earn its keep by competing in the German primary frequency regulation mar-kets. In addition, WEMAG plans to use it to provide black start capability and VAR support.
Thomas Pätzold, Chief Technical Officer, WEMAG AG
Working closely with WEMAG, we are proving that batteries can stabilize the grid more efficiently and at a lower price than conventional power plants. Our system also enables greater use of renewables. Thanks to its high speed and precision, the 5 MW battery park provides the same frequency regulation capability as a conventional 50 MW turbine.
power provides the same frequency regulation capability as a conventional 50 MW turbine.
contain 25,600 lithium-manganese-oxide cells that can store and release energy within milliseconds.
megawatt-scale battery park in Europe. stabilizing fluctuations in grid frequency.
Our intelligent software is at the heart of the system. It includes AC battery management (ACBM), battery power plant management (BPPM) and a SCADA-integrated energy management system. Together, these software systems control the battery cells – both in the interplay of the individual units, as well as the entire array’s interaction with the grid. This software architecture ensures three critical results. First, the software enables the battery park to automatically provide necessary services at any time. Second, it guarantees that the batteries are always full or “receptive” enough to charge and discharge as required. Third, our software optimizes the lifespan of the batteries by keeping the lithium-ion cells in their “comfort zones” as much as possible – which is why our battery suppliers can provide a 20-year performance guarantee. In delivering this pioneering project on a turnkey basis to WEMAG, we also leveraged our expertise in systems integration and our capability of testing the intelligent high-power storage unit in our Technology Center.