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IElectrix project shows how mobile battery storage drives energy transition forward

The integration of a large number of renewable energy plants into the electricity distribution grids poses challenges for grid operators in many places as power generation is becoming increasingly volatile and the network expansion required to accommodate this is taking time.

The EU’s largest research and innovation program, the so-called IElectrix project was running for three and a half years to develop mobile storage systems as a fast and cost-effective solution to local challenges in the distribution grid. IElectrix was funded by the European Union with 7.9 million euros. The consortium leader is the French distribution system operator ENEDIS, while E.ON was responsible for technical management.

The IElectrix project showed that mobile battery-based energy storage systems (BESS) can contribute to the more efficient use of green energy produced in wind or solar farms and help to avoid network bottlenecks in the distribution network at short notice thus helping to prevent the need to shut down decentralised generation plants. The time until the necessary distribution grid expansion can be bridged by their use and the flexibility in the grid can be increased.

“Meeting the Paris climate targets is an important milestone on our path to a sustainable energy future,” said Mark Ritzmann, Managing Director at E.ON Group Innovation. “Tomorrow’s energy world will be characterised by flexible consumers and producers of green energy. To effectively integrate these prosumers into our existing distribution grid infrastructure, innovative and digital solutions like IElectrix are necessary complements to an efficient grid expansion.”

As part of the IElectrix project, E.ON investigated the contribution that battery-based storage systems can make to meeting the challenges of the energy transition at locations such as Hungary and Germany.

E.ON found that BESS can more easily overcome technical hurdles that may arise from already busy power grids when connecting renewable capacity. They can absorb voltage peaks so that photovoltaic parks, for example, can be connected to the grid that might otherwise have to wait several years for a grid connection.

Secondly, mobile battery storage systems allow locally generated energy to be used more efficiently directly on-site, which is a basic prerequisite for the emergence of so-called energy communities.

Finally, it has been shown that energy communities promote the participation of local people in the energy transition. Through them, households, businesses, or municipalities can jointly consume, store and/or sell locally generated renewable energy. BESS enable better coordination for a more equitable distribution of grid capacity, said E.ON.

The results from IElectrix are being incorporated into follow-up activities at E.ON on the topics of energy storage, flexibility, and local energy communities. In particular, findings on the influence of BESS on grid voltage and expansion and on the regulatory environment, as well as customer studies on energy communities and flexibility markets, are valuable for initiating follow-up projects in several European countries. The storage systems used at the Friedland site in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and the Zánka and Dúzs sites in Hungary will remain in operation, confirmed E.ON.

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