Supporting the grid
It’s important to note that grid-scale batteries are not just designed to dump energy into the grid and power homes. Some batteries can act in what is known as ‘island mode’, which provides electricity to homes when the main supply is lost and while power is being restored.
However, one of the main benefits of grid-scale batteries is to provide grid stability. Due to their response time – measured in the milliseconds – grid-scale batteries offer fast-response to support the stability to the grid when something goes wrong, such as when generators or transmission lines fail.
Take for example the large-grid scale battery project in Victoria that we announced in November. Part of plans to develop an 850 megawatts (MW) multi-site, integrated battery system, this development will continue to firm up capacity for years to come.
Small-scale battery storage
Residential-scale batteries also have a significant part to play in this dynamic, by lightening the load on demand when energy use is at its peak, which is usually just as the sun is going down.
For example, through use of smart battery software, customers could choose to use their stored energy at times of the day when electricity is in greatest demand (and at its most expensive). This is typically in the evening peak and using batteries this way, individually or cumulatively takes strain off the Grid.
A cumulative view of small-scale battery storage
AGL’s Virtual Power Plant is a good example of the benefits of small-scale battery storage from a cumulative view. In September last year, we completed the installation of the 1,000th battery in our Virtual Power Plant (VPP) and the impact is a combined 5 MW of energy, drawn and orchestrated from the interconnected energy storage systems of homes and businesses in Adelaide, in a smart network that supports the grid.
Energy storage story just beginning
The potential benefits from energy storage are huge – but we are currently only seeing the beginning of this transition.
As storage options become more economical and are integrated more and more into the NEM, the future grid will be more productive over time, leading to lower costs for customers and less emissions from dispatchable coal and gas-fired generation.
This is the dawn of the battery age…