Westnetz, an innogy subsidiary, is testing a special kind of battery system in Wettringen, near Münster, Germany. The system can store an amount of energy that is equivalent to what is stored in around 2,000 car batteries. The battery storage system helps compensate for the fluctuating volume of green electricity that is fed into the grid. There are many photovoltaic systems in the region that produce a large volume of electricity, particularly at midday on sunny days. This energy can now be fed into the batteries, which obviates the need to expand the local grid to store surplus power. The energy stored in the batteries can then be fed back into the grid on cloudy days or at times of high demand. Westnetz is drawing on its experience with the test facility to further improve the economic viability of such storage solutions.
Saving green power
The growing proportion of renewables now in the energy mix presents new challenges for the energy system. To safeguard security of supply even when sun and wind are hard to come by, innogy is looking for ways of efficiently storing wind and solar power.
Many owners of photovoltaic plants use innogy battery storage solutions to harness the energy of the sun even when it is not shining. This allows them to cover much of their own energy needs with green solar power. Higher-capacity battery storage facilities are also available these days. Near the small town of Wettringen (Lower Saxony), a large battery stores power generated from the region’s photovoltaic panels and wind farms.
We are looking for the energy storage solutions of tomorrow and beyond. One idea would be to link electricity to the gas network and use that as a giant battery. How it would work is something innogy specialists are currently testing on a power-to-gas pilot plant in Ibbenbüren (North Rhine-Westphalia).
Research projects energy storage
Innogy is testing how excess power from wind turbines can be efficiently stored in its power-to-gas pilot plant in Ibbenbüren near Osnabrück. The idea is to link the power and gas network together, using the existing natural gas infrastructure as a giant battery facility.
With the aid of an electrolysis system, excess power supplied by wind turbines is then used to turn water into hydrogen and oxygen via an electro-chemical process. The hydrogen produced in this way is then fed into the natural gas network. During periods of low renewable power generation, the stored gas can then be taken from the storage devices and, for instance, fed back into the Ibbenbüren cogeneration plant.