German electric utility E.ON has been developing large-scale mobile and flexible battery storage systems (BESS) in Hungary to facilitate the integration of new green power plants into existing grids at short notice. Last week the company connected the third such mobile storage system to the local distribution grid in Dúzs.
The move was part of the EU-funded IElectrix project, which aims to install a single and smart European electricity grid to integrate renewable energy sources throughout the continent, accelerating its energy transition.
IElectrix is part of Horizon 2020, the EU’s largest research and innovation programme. Within three and a half years, 15 project partners from eight EU countries and the distribution grid operator TATA Power DDL from India are jointly developing mobile storage systems as a fast and cost-effective solution to local challenges in the distribution grid.
IElectrix is funded by the EU with €7.9 million, the total project volume is €10.7 million. The consortium leader is the French distribution network operator ENEDIS supported by E.ON as the Technical Director.
The mobile storage system located in the village of Duzs, central Hungary, is expected to help for the further expansion of green energy in the region which offers great conditions for photovoltaics but the installation of more solar plants has slowed down because new plants exceed the available grid capacities. Mobile battery storage can increase the share of renewable energy in local grids quickly. The cost of such storage can be up to 80% less than the cost of conventional grid expansion. The time savings can amount to several years in some cases.
“The expansion of renewables is a fundamental prerequisite for Europe to achieve its climate targets. Within the next decade, renewable energy capacities will grow as never before. However, existing networks have not been designed to meet these challenges when they were built. To bridge this gap, smart technologies for short-term flexibility are needed,” says Mark Ritzmann, Managing Director at E.ON Innovation.
“In this respect, Dúzs and the other IElectrix sites, with their mobile storage units and use of digital technology, are real showcase projects for a sustainable energy future,” he adds.
E.ON has already integrated two battery storage facilities into its grids as part of the IElectrix project: in Friedland in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany, and in Zánka Hungary. Over the next three years, E.ON will invest more than €7 billion in the German distribution networks alone.
Mobile storage facilities are seen as a low-cost alternative to grid expansion which is meant to compensate for grid bottlenecks and speed up the transition to green energy at a local level without immediate additional grid expansion.
“The total installed capacity of solar power plants connected to the grid has grown by more than 17 times in the last four years in E.ON’s service area in Hungary alone. In the future, new capacity will be created in many places,” says Attila Kiss, CEO of E.ON in Hungary.
“With our solutions, we want to help households and businesses benefit from this development and use local green power where it is generated. This strengthens local value creation and makes the switch to renewables more attractive,” added Kiss.