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Alstom and Saft to provide EDF Concept Grid with energy storage battery system

The French consortium formed last year by Saft and Alstom is contributing to the first demonstration launched by energy utility EDF, to demonstrate grid frequency regulation on a megawatt scale using a lithium-ion battery storage system.

The Alstom-Saft consortium has signed a framework contract with EDF (Électricité de France) to supply an initial energy storage system using a container of lithium-ion batteries, demonstrating the system’s ability to regulate grid frequency. Alstom and Saft came together in 2013 to reply to a call for tender from EDF for the battery storage system.

Alstom’s MaxSine™ eStorage solution, connected to Saft’s Intensium® Max 20M storage system, will be installed on EDF R&D’s experimental ‘Concept Grid’, which is dedicated to the development of grids and smart electrical systems.

Located on the EDF site at Les Renardières, south of Paris, this is the first installation of its kind in France. The storage system and the power converter will be delivered later this year.

Grid stability

Frequency is an indicator of the grid stability; it represents the balance between energy produced and energy consumed. To maintain this balance (and therefore the frequency), the operator uses the energy available through the primary reserve by blocking part of their production capacity.

In France this primary reserve is mainly ensured by thermal or nuclear power plant operators. According to the Commission de Régulation de l’Énergie, the primary reserve in France is estimated at 650 MW.

Battery storage flexibility

Battery storage systems provide producers and grid operators with more flexibility over the immediately available energy supply. In the event of an imbalance between production and consumption, the storage system can either release energy into the grid, or store it for a few hundred milliseconds, thus controlling the frequency of the network.

The experiments by EDF R&D will evaluate the ability of such a system to regulate the frequency, and in particular the adjustment potential of the primary reserve.

Energy storage and conversion system

As part of this contract, Alstom and Saft will provide the complete 1 MW/30 min energy storage and conversion system. Saft will supply its Intensium Max lithium-ion battery 20 ft (6 m) container, while Alstom will install its MaxSine eStorage solution.

Alstom’s MaxSine eStorage includes a power converter that connects the direct current (DC) battery to the alternating current (AC) grid, and converts the electricity between DC and AC to be stored or released into the grid. It also includes real-time energy storage management software to optimise the production of electricity according to the needs of the grid.

French innovation for Europe

‘The battery energy storage system is part of the Nouvelle France Industrielle project, a scheme launched by the French government in 2013,’ says Patrick Plas, Senior Vice-President, Smart Grid & HVDC at Alstom Grid. ‘At the cutting edge of smart grid and power transportation infrastructure optimisation technologies, Alstom Grid is contributing its technological expertise to the excellence of the French and European energy industry.’

‘Saft is delighted today to be providing the first battery for primary frequency control installed in France,’ adds François Bouchon, Director of Energy Storage at Saft. ‘With our international experience in the integration of renewable energies especially for networks in the Paris area, this innovative experiment will demonstrate the added value of a battery storage system and the performance of Li-ion technology in this promising sector.’

Alstom and Saft have already collaborated on the Nice Grid smart grid demonstration project in Nice, installing a 1 MW battery energy storage system in late 2013 to address the risk of grid instability in the event of a massive influx of intermittent solar energy.

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Energy efficiency  •  Energy infrastructure  •  Energy storage including Fuel cells  •  Green building  •  Policy, investment and markets