Big batteries bridging the gap?
(Image: Hornsdale power reserve)

Big batteries bridging the gap?

The electricity system's increasing reliance on renewables could get vital support from big batteries

Summary: South Australia's big batteries reduced the need for gas powered generation during a peak evening hour illustrating their potential for helping to balance the grid. Excess solar and some wind generation during the day had charged big batteries at the Hornsdale Power Reserve, the new Torrens Island battery, and the Lake Bonney and Dalrymple batteries. There are signs of growth in the rate of capacity additions globally as well as other solutions to support the grid which we discuss in this blog.

Why this is important: For sustainability professionals the electricity system is a great example of the need for systems thinking and transitional thinking. The grid of tomorrow is likely to look very different to the grid of today, not least of which because of regional differences. It is not just about changing the way our electricity is generated but also how it is distributed effectively to people when they need it and in the form they need it.

The big theme: As we add more renewables to our electricity generation mix, we create a greater challenge in keeping the grid stable, and in ensuring electricity supply meets demand at all times. These changes are creating some really exciting opportunities for new approaches to grid management, including battery storage, demand management, and interconnectors.



The details

Summary of a story published in Renew Economy:

In a December article in Renew Economy, according to analysts at GPE NEMLog, on 28th September 2023 in South Australia, battery storage accounted for 20.8% or 340 MW of generation at 6.50pm - peak evening demand. Excess solar and some wind generation during the day had charged big batteries at the Hornsdale Power Reserve, the new Torrens Island battery, and the Lake Bonney and Dalrymple batteries.

Battery storage meets more than 20 per cent of early evening peak demand in Australia
Battery storage is making its present felt in the evening peaks, reaching more than 20 pct of peak demand in South Australia.

The battery discharge took share from gas at a time when the sun had set and wind energy was providing only 12.6%.

Since Australia's first big battery at Hornsdale was connected to the grid on 1 December 2017, Australia now has 2.8GW of battery energy storage systems (BESS) installed capacity. According to Rystad Energy, Australia needs to increase that capacity to 46GW by 2050.


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