Storage, meaning the electricity accumulation system, is a technology destined to play a major role in energy transition. Indeed, it allows to fix the intermittence of the production of non-programmable renewable sources, wind and solar power in particular, stockpiling energy during peak hours and later redistribute it as necessary, getting rid of the need to use thermoelectric generation as a back-up system.
The systems of Battery Energy Storage (BESS) are innovative battery-powered energy storage systems that store, maximize, and stock the absorption of renewable energy sources.
Their employment is ideal for applications that require a fast time response and a high short-term or medium-term power request, therefore improving the reliability, availability and efficiency of the power supply.
BESS are divided into domestic BESS – which are matched to small-sized photovoltaic plants owned by private individuals in particular – and industrial BESS – which are related to production plants sourced by utility-scale photovoltaic and wind power and are managed by operators.
It is therefore not surprising that the sector is enjoying a strong growth worldwide. According to a report by the consulting firm specialized in the power industry Wood Mackenzie, the installation of new storage systems will proceed at an average growth rate of 31% from now until 2030, thus reaching 741 GWh of overall capacity.
However, there will be significant regional differences. 49% of the installed storage capacity will be located in the United States. Americans will lead the market followed by China, which will instead totalize a 21% capacity. In Europe, the United Kingdom and Germany will excel in industrial-sized storage, followed by France and Italy.
On the other hand, the Storage Systems Monitoring Center offers image of the current state of our country drawn by ANIE Rinnovabili related to the year 2020. The research opens with a clearly positive figure: last year, the new capacity installations have increased by 40% if compared with data from 2019. By the end of the year, it was estimated that 39,706 storage systems matched with photovoltaic plants, for an overall 189 MWp power and a 293 MWh maximum employed capacity equivalent, to which were added the plants of the transmission operator Terna, for a total of 60 MWp and 250 MWh.
However, in most cases, the installations were built by small-sized domestic systems, even though the report also informs of the installation of a 7.2 MWp storage with a 4.6 MWh capacity, matching with a thermal power plant in Piedmont, along with a 35 kWp storage with a 65 kWh capacity, matching a wind power plant in Tuscany.
On a regional distribution level, Lombardy was ranked first for the largest number of installed systems, with over 12,000 new installations, followed by Veneto with 6,700 and Emilia Romagna with more than 4,000.
As for the technology used, 96.3% of the installed systems are lithium-based, followed by those that are lead-based (3.6%). An increase of super-capacitors was registered (0,1%), and 11 hydrogen-based ones were detected.
After all, lithium-based systems are the most common around the world, but the rush to increase the efficiency and to reduce costs is leading the research to evaluate different solutions, even those significantly innovative. For instance, the French startup Energiestro is testing out a flywheel made up of concrete cylinder, placed as vacuum-packed in air lock and linked to an electric engine-alternator.
Chiron Energy, as an energy operator, is strongly engaged against climate change through decarbonization projects in strategic economic sectors such as renewable energy production, distribution, and indeed, storage. From this perspective, Chiron Energy is carrying out, thanks to the support of highly qualified technicians and advisors, important analysis and studies related to utility scale storage, which will lead to integrate energy storage solutions within their own production plants. These cutting-edge technology-oriented solutions will enable an increasingly efficient and sustainable use of energy, exceeding the limits of intermittence and programmability that are typical of renewable energy production. Chiron Energy strongly believes that a distributed, renewable, cutting-edge energy production will necessarily integrate with technologically advanced and environmentally friendly storage systems.