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The Power of Interdisciplinary Integration: How BESS Perfectly Merges Power Flow with Data Flow

Alvis Chen     Nov 13, 2023
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Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESSs) are being prioritized by governments and energy sectors worldwide to align with the global trend of sustainable development and energy transition. Recently, several governments have intensified their investments in and development of large-scale BESS systems.

In 2022, the U.S. passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which allocated a staggering USD 370 billion to support renewable energy and climate change projects. Up to 30% of the investment offset went towards energy storage equipment. Meanwhile, China aims to reach a 30 GW energy storage scale by 2025 to support the growth of its domestic energy storage industry. As a result, energy storage technology is increasingly being recognized as the fifth pillar in the power grid system, in addition to the four main pillars of generation, transmission, distribution, and consumption.

An Advanced Power Intelligence Management System

A modern BESS is no longer just a simple charging and discharging system. It has evolved into an advanced power intelligence management system that integrates "power flow" with "data flow." Thus, BESS operations involve managing batteries and establishing secure network connections to exchange information with power generation and the grid, all to optimize power usage. However, these advancements present new challenges in networking and cybersecurity for power and automation system providers. In the past, the primary requirement for network transmission was merely "connectivity.” However, with the deep integration of BESS systems and national power grids, the demands for network availability and security have surged dramatically.

Fortunately, in recent years, industrial network and industrial control cybersecurity technologies have made significant progress and seamlessly integrated into various critical infrastructures. Here are four network technology requirements that BESS providers often consider when designing systems:

  1. Monitoring network communication-related indicators: By using advanced network switches, you can monitor key indicators of point-to-point communication, such as Optical Power and Network Packet Error Rate, in real time. These indicators not only provide the real-time status of system operations but can also alert to potential hardware failures or network interference. For example, an abnormal optical power might indicate an impending failure of the optical fiber transmitter or on-site wiring issues. Inspecting and intervening early can prevent communication interruptions and keep the BESS system running smoothly.
  2. High-availability network architecture: Industrial Ethernet has designed a millisecond-level backup network architecture to address the real-time communication requirements between BESS and the power grid. This structure not only provides real-time and stable transmissions but can also quickly switch to a backup network in case of network failures, ensuring uninterrupted data flow. The PRP/HSR zero packet loss technology can improve the reliability of the BESS network when interacting with substations.
  3. Simplify equipment IP management to enhance network security: As large-scale BESS may involve many networked devices, the NAT (Network Address Translation) function simplifies IP configuration and management. With NAT, multiple devices in the same battery storage container can share an IP address and the internal network remains hidden from potential attackers, enhancing overall network security.
  4. Compliance with international industrial control system cybersecurity standards or specifications: With the increased awareness of industrial control cybersecurity in recent years, many new industrial control cybersecurity standards, such as IEC 62443, have been widely accepted internationally and applied to critical power infrastructures. These standards cover a complete set of cybersecurity engineering concepts for individual products, overall system security, and long-term safety management.

In conclusion, with the rapid advancement of technology and the strong trend of energy transition, the role of BESS in power systems is becoming increasingly important. Its successful operation relies on integrating expertise from different domains, such as electrochemistry, automation, and network communication. This interdisciplinary collaboration emphasizes the importance of recruiting more cross-industry talents to ensure that BESS technology meet future energy needs while ensuring operational efficiency, security, and sustainability.

For more information, please visit the BESS microsite.

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