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Large-Scale Energy Storage Systems: Striking a Balance

Aug 01, 2023
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In recent years, large-scale energy storage systems have emerged as key to the success of energy transition. Electricity is the primary product for the general observer, but this isn't always the case from a system perspective. For the latter, striking a balance between the battery cells, the BESS plant, and the power grid—the three pillars of BESS — is crucial to store and transfer electricity successfully.

1. Achieving Balance Among the Battery Cells

BESS gathers data on voltage, current, and temperature from battery cells organized into modules or racks. Achieving battery cell balancing—involving redistributing charge amongst the battery cells—and managing potential thermal runaway during the charging and discharging processes will ensure the quality and efficiency of a storage cabinet.

2. Achieving the Right Balance in the BESS Plant

BESS helps all the cabinets within the energy storage system work smoothly. It includes cabinets like PCS and auxiliary systems for environmental monitoring, backup power, and access control. It's important to closely monitor temperature, air conditioning, and flooding at BESS plants because of past fires. Any potential issues can be resolved through remote monitoring and management.

3. Achieving Balance in the Grid

BESS balances the flow of electrical energy between generation, transmission, distribution, and usage. Excess electricity is stored when generation is high. When there is a significant demand for electricity, the energy storage system can rapidly provide power to maintain grid stability. In 2017, for example, the South Australia Tesla storage power plant prevented large-scale power outages by balancing the grid in milliseconds.

Beneath the ebb and flow of electric currents, there's a river of real-time data running. It's this data, analyzed instantaneously and decisively, that helps keep the energy balance in check. Getting this important data, however, is difficult because of various communication protocols used by different vendors and sensors, unstable transmissions caused by unpredictable weather and harsh conditions, and security concerns.

Clearly, the BESS industry is still young and brimming with challenges. But, thanks to continuous technological innovation, the industry remains vibrant, propelling it forward.

For more information, please visit the Moxa's Battery Energy Storage System Portal.

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