Electrical energy storage gives an answer to increased use of green generation on the electricity grid. Wind and PV generation leads to a number of problems when supply does not equal demand. A Buffer capability is useful to either absorb excess supply when demand is low, or provide extra power when demand exceeds supply.
One of the most easily accessible energy buffer technologies is electrical energy storage in the form of batteries on the grid. I am fortunate to be involved with the exciting aspects of energy storage research, and particularly with the University of Sheffield energy storage research demonstrator. Based at the Willenhall substation near Wolverhampton in the West Midlands, part of the Western Power Distribution Network, the energy storage facility is owned and operated by the energy storage research team at the Center for Research into Electrical Energy Storage and Applications (CREESA) in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Sheffield, in conjunction with partners at Aston University and the University of Southampton. The £4m facility was officially launched March 2016 funded by the UK EPSRC, looking at future possibilities for large-scale energy storage and how to overcome the challenges associated with connecting such technologies to the grid.
The site is capable of 2MW for 30 minutes, giving a 1MWhr battery capacity, and is based on Lithium Titanate cell technology from Toshiba.
One of the questions of interest is how best to deploy energy storage on the grid, maximising the benefits for the grid operators, investors and customers to bring a secure energy future.