9 Dec 2010 12:30

Storage facilities key to linking renewable energy projects to power grid - experts

Shanghai. December 9. INTERFAX-CHINA - Electricity output from renewable energy projects must be regulated to ensure transmission is reliable, efficient and does not harm the power grid, experts said at an industry forum in Shanghai on Dec. 8.

As such, grid companies are now proposing standards, including low voltage ride through (LVRT) systems, to connect wind farms to the power grid efficiently. Meanwhile, both power developers and grid companies are considering whether energy storage facilities will be the key to solving these grid connection issues.

Liu Kewei, manager at Beijing Guodian Longyuan Environmental Engineering Co. Ltd., said at the Energy Storage 2010 forum in Shanghai on Dec. 8 that energy storage facilities can help wind power projects create grid-friendly electricity and improve efficiency even when wind speeds fluctuate.

Kewei's company provides technological solutions under its parent China Guodian Corp., which boasts the largest wind power development scale in China.

According to the company's research, lead-acid batteries and pumped-storage hydroelectricity plants stand out amongst the various types of energy storage solutions because of their cost advantages.

Hu Xuehao, a senior expert with State Grid Corp. of China's (SGCC) China Electric Power Research Institute (CEPRI), said at the conference that although wider use of lead-acid batteries has been limited due to their short lifespan, he remains optimistic about the business potential of pumped-storage plants.

According to Hu, these plants cost between RMB 3,000 ($451.13) and RMB 4,000 ($601.50) per kilowatt (KW) to build and have an energy conversion ratio of between 70 and 80 percent.

He noted that several pumped-storage plants could be built on the upstream portion of the Yellow River in Qinghai Province because of the proximity to large photovoltaic (PV) power bases.