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Germany go-ahead for ‘virtual battery’ grid balancing plan

Mon, 12/17/2018 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel
Sonnen home battery system

German residential battery storage provider Sonnen and Swiss smartgrid developer Tiko have been given the green light to provide grid balancing using a “virtual battery” comprising home energy storage systems networked across Germany.”

Transmission system operator TenneT has pre-qualified the system— under which Tiko will deploy its real-time smartgrid network technology paired with Sonnen’s network of lithium iron phosphate batteries.

According to Sonnen, the company has “around 30,000 SonnenBatterie systems in Europe” for a total network capacity of up to 300MWh— enough to supply around 120,000 households with power for one hour.

Under the scheme, large numbers of Sonnen’s 5 to 15kWh residential batteries will be “aggregated into blocks starting at 1MW”, which are then made available to the energy market. The virtual battery— which Sonnen claimed is currently the largest of its kind— will be used to compensate for fluctuations in the power grid, thus reducing reliance upon COintensive power stations that are currently used for primary balancing power. 

“System services that serve to stabilise the power supply would previously be provided mainly by conventional power mainly by conventional power plants”, commented TenneT CEO Lex Hartman. “With the increasing share of renewable energies in electricity generation, renewables will need to take on a grater responsibility. 

Under testing, a 1MW block managed to discharge one megawatt of power to the grid and then recharge the same amount back within 30 seconds. Following this success, the virtual battery qualified for participation in the “primary operating reserve market.”

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