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Data Assets: The Financial Code of Large-Scale Energy Storage Systems

Alvis Chen     Aug 14, 2023
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Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) are rapidly becoming the most vibrant sector in the global energy industry. A medium-to-large BESS (>10 MW) may represent millions or even tens of millions of dollars, half of which may be from the batteries themselves. But like all rechargeable batteries, large-scale energy storage systems are affected by battery degradation, diminishing capacity with charge-discharge cycles, leading to accelerated depreciation of these capital-intensive assets.

While small consumer electronics can easily be replaced every three years, routine replacement of BESS isn’t cost-effective. BESS owners and suppliers can use battery performance warranties, such as a 10-year, 50 MWh performance guarantee. To meet warranty obligations, suppliers employ strategies such as oversizing (installing extra batteries in advance) or augmenting (adding new batteries to existing ones). Good data is a must to employ these strategies effectively, minimize cost for suppliers, and preserve returns for owners.

Data Management: Linchpin BESS Long-Term Operation

Collection and analysis of battery performance data is vital to effectively support warranty contracts for both owners and suppliers. BESS system suppliers typically devise guidelines for battery use, which lay out specific parameters for operating temperatures and state of charge (SoC). When a warranty claim is made, owners must furnish data as proof. The supplier guidelines enable the owner to claim compensation or replacement if battery performance falls short, but only if data validates that the charge and discharge controls were appropriately managed.

Additionally, data serves as the most important tool for BESS system suppliers to assess the health of batteries. Big data analysis enables preventative maintenance and reduces failure risks. Battery state of health (SoH) metrics can impact business decisions, with battery modules falling outside of warranty coverage when their SoH drops to 60%-65%. Because of the crucial role of data in contract obligations, BESS businesses must ensure that collection, storage, and transmission are reliable.

Elevating BESS Data Transmission and Storage

Data is vital to assessing the performance of large-scale investments, but there is no single approach to transmission and preservation. However, drawing from Moxa’s extensive experience supporting large-scale BESS owners and suppliers, we can recommend two key strategies for data storage and transmission:

  1. Build resiliency into facilities: Large-scale BESS facilities are often situated in remote or coastal regions, with potential exposure to environmental corrosion factors, like salt. In addition to choosing equipment with wide operating temperature ranges and high mean time between failures (MTBF), it's crucial to choose devices that can withstand the field conditions of the deployment area. This may include anti-electromagnetic interference fiber optics or anti-corrosion coatings. These measures will safeguard the stability and integrity of transmitted data.
  2. Build redundancy into systems: In unpredictable remote sites, it's crucial to prepare for issues like unstable power supply or unforeseen power outages. Opt for equipment with multiple power inputs or dual power backup designs. For larger BESS sites, consider network redundancy capabilities, such as dual network backup (LAN-A/LAN-B network) or ring network topology with swift disconnection backup. This ensures prompt activation of backup networks during network anomalies, minimizing data loss. Tailor network architectures to each site's specific data transmission stability needs to balance cost-effectiveness and avoid major losses.

As our world embraces renewable energy, BESS systems for grid stability and energy optimization grow ever more crucial. The mastery of data aggregation, transmission, and management is set to emerge as a pivotal force, empowering governments, investors, and suppliers to drive substantial, long-term investments and expedite the shift towards sustainable energy.

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

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