Storage: the other challenge facing renewables

It is common knowledge that it is very difficult to store electricity. As a solution, the conventional battery is very limited as it can only store a very low density of energy. Did you know that it would take 24 million AA batteries, or approximately 200 m3 of batteries, to store the energy produced every day by a 3 MW wind farm?

Electricity networks in their current form must therefore strive to strike a balance: as electricity production levels must always be consistent with electricity consumption levels, national network managers use adjustment mechanisms to balance electricity supply and demand.

That’s not so simple for systems with large electricity production units. But while the rise of renewable energies over the past fifteen years has had a very positive impact in terms of limiting global warming, it makes it even more difficult to stabilise the electricity network! Indeed, by increasingly decentralising electricity production, small installations are produced and the volatility in production increases, since solar, hydro-power and wind energy are highly dependent on weather conditions, the time of day, and season. As for energy consumption, it is also experiencing a period of profound change: as the number of electric cars and heat pumps continues to rise, so too does demand for electricity, and peak consumption times vary.

Consequently, transfer system operators are now able to manage and strike the best possible balance; new solutions are needed to increase production and storage flexibility.

All forms of electric energy storage

Pumped storage configurations in water dams figure prominently among the most appropriate solutions currently available. At the same time, Power-to-Gas is a solution under development. More local solutions, which seek to limit the consumption peaks of large consumers (such as industrialists) or strike a better balance between neighbourhoods or consumer groups, have already been rolled out.

The BG Group works alongside its customers, including electricity companies, large consumers and consumer organisations, to develop their projects so that they are able to optimise the balance between production and consumption, or to offer storage solutions:

  • Irrespective of the nature of your project, whether it be a small turbine installation on a drinking water network, a mammoth pumped storage project, or even the renewal of a licence, we help you to unleash your hydroelectric potential in a completely sustainable fashion
  • We can offer extensive expertise of the whole range of Power-to-Gas installations, either in the production of hydrogen or biogas, or for dimensioning, risk management etc.
  • We help consumer groups to consider and implement local sources of electricity production, not least photovoltaic, and the corresponding legal/economic models.

We are at your service. Please contact us!

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