The necessity of the energy transition has been recognized not only by politicians, but also by most people. In addition to the many uncertainties caused by the Corona pandemic, the extreme weather events of 2021 have highlighted the urgency of the energy transition.
The 2021 federal election marks a turning point for Germany and its energy policy. The course is now being set for a targeted climate policy. Studies have now found that renewables can bermore economical than operating coal-fired power plants.
STABL Energy explains what challenges still need to be overcome in the energy transition from an electrical engineering perspective and why battery storage is a key technology for the energy transition. Investments in flexible, low-CO₂ technologies and climate protection solutions in the electricity and heating sectors are promising. A successful energy transition cannot be without nationwidedenergy storage systems. nicht fehlen.
Challenges for the energy transition
Germany wants to become climate-neutral and build its energy grid on renewables. The core challenge is how to replace coal and nuclear energy and still keep the grid stable, and what happens when the sun's not shining and the wind's not blowing.
For the energy transition, coal-fired and nuclear power plants must be shut down. But if more and more power plants are shut down in the future, the inertia of the stabilizing synchronous generators for the power grid will be lost. So how can the grid be kept stable in the future, when our energy supply is fed only from regenerative sources?
The problem of network control
In the power grid, the same amount of energy must always be fed in as is being consumed at that moment. The grid frequency of 50 hertz is the target value here. Should this ratio become unbalanced for a short time, the generators in the coal-fired and nuclear power plants turn a little slower or faster. This so-called inertia ensures that the power grid does not collapse.
What happens now when the large centralized power plants and their generators are replaced by very large numbers of decentralized wind turbines and solar panels? These generators do not have rotating generators and cannot provide inertia per se. This is because they are mostly connected to the power grid by inverters, and inverters do not have rotating masses.
No wind and no sun – what to do?
Furthermore, renewable energies are naturally dependent on environmental influences and are not available when the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining. At the beginning of this year, wind turbines and photovoltaic systems weakened, as there was little wind off the coasts throughout Germany and the sun rarely came through. With wind energy on land and at sea plus PV plants, output did not exceed 10 gigawatts. How will this work after the coal phase-out, when the base load depends only on renewable energy?
By law, the Bundestag and Bundesrat passed the Coal Phase-out Act on July 3, 2020. At the same time, a Structural Strengthening Act was passed to help the affected regions cope with structural change. At the same time, the expansion of renewable energies is to be driven forward. But what if the risk of a blackout increases with every power plant that is taken off the grid?
How battery storage can help
Storage technologies can be the solution to the two problems of the energy transition - grid stabilization and solar and wind slack. Energy and especially battery storage are enormously important for a successful energy transition. The high production volumes, favored by the advance of electromobility, have caused the prices of lithium-ion batteries to fall over the years. In the last 10 years, prices have fallen by a remarkable 88%, making electricity storage increasingly economical at grid level, as well as in the private and commercial sectors.
Real-world examples show that battery storage can maintain the grid when conventional power plants fail. In 2017, for example, a Tesla battery storage plant in Australia prevented a blackout by delivering power within 140 milliseconds. Tesla mega-storage also avoided more than $30 million in system service costs.
And such projects are also being driven forward in Germany. This summer, EnbW built a power plant battery in Heilbronn that can provide around 5 MW of power and a capacity of 5 MWh. It, too, will be used to stabilize the grid.
Battery storage for the residential and commercial energy transition
However, electricity storage systems can also be useful and economical in the private and commercial sectors, so that the energy transition can also succeed on a small scale.
Due to the financial support under the Renewable Energy Sources Act, there has been an increase in the purchase of photovoltaic systems in the private and commercial sectors. Today, PV electricity has the most potential in trade, commerce and industry with a focus on self-consumption. While it used to be worthwhile to install a PV system in order to feed the electricity into the grid, the feed-in tariffs are now so low that it is often more worthwhile to consume the electricity yourself and store it for the evening hours or high consumption times. Private households and companies can thus reduce their energy costs and contribute to environmental protection.
Other applications that can also be profitable are increasing the grid connection in order to provide charging stations for electric vehicles, for example, or classic peak shaving, whereby peak loads from battery storage are capped in order to reduce the power price in commercial operation.
In the next few years, our energy system will change radically. Although the coal and nuclear phase-out will pose major challenges for the German energy industry, we can look to the future with optimism. Battery storage systems can stabilize the grids and successfully master the energy transition. They are a key technology for making Germany climate-neutral and preserving our planet for future generations.
STABL Energy enables even more economical operation of commercial and industrial storage systems with its innovative inverter technology. Check out our pages for the wide range of applications and if you are a storage manufacturer, write to us today and find out how we can work together to develop the most efficient and sustainable energy storage systems.
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