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A123 Systems to supply Li-ion energy storage system to Dongfang Electric Corporation for evaluation for wind power solutions

Li-ion battery manufacturer A123 Systems will supply a 500kW Li-ion energy storage solution to Dongfang Electric Corporation (DEC), the third largest manufacturer of wind turbines in the People’s Republic of China and the country’s largest exporter of power equipment.

Expected to be installed at DEC’s manufacturing facility in Hangzhou city, China Zhejiang Province, by the end of 2011, the system is designed as a demonstration project to help DEC evaluate how advanced energy storage can address the challenges associated with the rapid growth of wind power in China.

The government has set ambitions goals to increase wind power in China to about 170GW by 2020, and DEC looks forward to doing our part to help reach this target. However, there will be infrastructure and interconnection challenges along the way that must be addressed. Advanced storage technology continues to show promise as a potential solution to the variability of wind energy generation, and installing this project with A123 will allow us to gain hands-on experience with grid-scale storage systems. Ultimately, we expect this to help us understand how we can leverage larger-scale energy storage deployments to facilitate the rapid adoption of wind energy across China.

—Mr. He, general manager of Dongfang Electrical Machinery Co.

This project will be A123’s first energy storage system in China, where only about 72% of the country’s total wind power generating capacity is connected to the power grid, according to data from the China Power Union. This is largely due to the unacceptable Low Voltage Ride Through (LVRT) capability—during periods of low grid voltage, wind farms are disconnecting and are slow to reconnect when voltage increases—and the general lack of ramp management technology, which results in the inability to predict the output of wind farms and leads to grid instability.

We believe that China represents a significant market opportunity for our advanced energy storage technology, especially as a solution to addressing the LVRT and ramp-management problems standing in the way of the country’s aggressive plans for wind power deployment. Today’s announcement is a significant step toward developing a presence in China, and by aligning ourselves with an established organization like DEC, we believe we will gain a considerable strategic advantage.

—Robert Johnson, vice president of the Energy Solutions Group at A123

Comments

Henry Gibson

A chinese company already bought the Vanadium flow battery company of Canada. The tiny lithium cells only increase the number of failure point for energy storage units. Engine generators, even with fuel costs, are cheaper to build and operate to supply power when wind generators fail. They can be located anywhere on the grid, but putting them at the base of the windturbine tower could show the reality of the fact that windturbines do not even come close to producing their maximim rated energy over a period of a year. Twenty percent of the rated energy production is a good average. Not many, if any, windturbines would be built if there were no government subsidies or legal mandates for their use. The use of batteries increases the cost of windpower substantially as it does the cost of electricity from solar cells. ..HG..

HarveyD

Wind and solar power are intermittent power sources and require stored energy or other readily available energy sources to meet demands during low or insufficient wind/solar energy periods.

Hydro power plants, with their huge water reservoir (energy storage units) and easily varied power output, are ideal companions to fill in for Solar/Wind low power production periods. To take full advantage of Solar/Wind energy production, those two intermittent power sources have to be used for base loads and hydro for peak and fill in periods. That's what Hydro people do not like. They (hydro people) want to do it the other way around, i.e. Hydro for base loads and intermittent power sources for peak loads. That is the wrong way or their way to block intermittent power sources development.

Human interests (position, authority, power, $$$, acquired ways, etc ) are often used to block common sense development.

A D

Audi with their windmill hydrogen and e-gas project are doing a succesful and efficient use of windmill output. This project of storing windmill outputs into battery is just plain sub-par compared to audi's method. This is very costly, inneficient, complicated, still impossible to match the impedance of the grid and is labor intensive and there is numerous occasions for errors. Audi's project on the other hands don't just use 100% of the wind energy output but add water and co2 into the input for tremendous total energy outputs. This is the method of the future: audi windmill hydrogen and e-gas method.

bot_feeder

"Hydro power plants, with their huge water reservoir (energy storage units) and easily varied power output, are ideal companions to fill in for Solar/Wind low power production periods. To take full advantage of Solar/Wind energy production, those two intermittent power sources have to be used for base loads and hydro for peak and fill in periods."

That doesn't always work, though. Look at the situation in the Pacific Northwest. With > 20 GW of hydropower in the region, it is probably as good as anyplace in the world for hydro to serve as a fill-in for the intermittency of wind. But this spring the Bonneville Power Administration had to tell wind producers in the area to shut down their turbines because the huge spring runoffs necessitated the dams being run at full capacity.

HarveyD

Most hydro power plants have water by-pass for the occasional spring runoffs, mini-floods and high rain season runoffs. The exception are hydro power plants with much larger water reservoirs such as the NA Great Lakes etc.

Ideally, you should never have to shut your collocated intermittent Solar/Wind power plants in order to maximize production/revenues and lower cost. That's why they should be used to satisfy as close to 100% of your average base loads. You cannot rely on intermittent power sources for peak loads because they may not be producing when required.

ai_vin

When I read the title for this my first question was "why use a battery noted for its lightweight in a stationary role?" but as I read the text I realized the real problem was China's poor grid connectivity and management technology.

On the subject of intermittent energy sources like wind used as base load: There are many ways of doing it; http://www.canrea.ca/site/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/canrea-six-ways-of-providing-base-load-power-from-wind-feb09.pdf
but I find the idea of interconnecting geographically-dispersed wind farms the most interesting; http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/winds/aj07_jamc.pdf

The Germans actually successfully tried this in their less geographically-dispersed country. They did this by going beyond wind and combining geographically-dispersed wind farms with geographically-dispersed solar arrays and biogas powered CHPs placed on farms. Even with their smaller land area they were able to match supply to demand minute-to-minute. Although they did use pumped hydro this was used mostly as a dump for excess wind/solar and the CHPs were the real key: Biogas can be stored and their small ICE generators can be started quickly.

http://www.kombikraftwerk.de/index.php?id=27

HarveyD

ai-vin....yes there are many ways to make better use of intermittent power sources, specially for wind power which varies form one area to another and can be predicted with high enough accuracy. Canada/USA have very varied wind potential but would require a better integrated power grid to link 100,000+ wind turbines together.

Solar power is very different. It is almost 100% predictable but its average full production is limited to about 6 hours/day. Either you store its energy or use other sources.

Herm

Ai-vin, the #1 resource the Germans used was money.. its ok as long as the consumer does not mind paying lots of $$ for it.

ai_vin

Actually the surcharge on the average German consumer's power bill from green energy has been only 24 euros (about $38) a year. And for that they get, among other things, thousands of new jobs; http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/apr/16/renewableenergy.windpower

Germany's Renewable Energy Sources Act - sometimes referred to as "Scheer's law" - obliges electricity distributors to buy power from renewable sources at up to three times market rates, with the scale of the subsidy varying according to power source and declining gradually over the 20-year life of the tariff. This rate of sudsidy is about the same as the oil companies get from the American taxpayer so the American driver can have cheap gas.

ai_vin

@Harvey

Geographically-dispersed solar arrays do help to reduce the fluctuations due to cloud cover.

HarveyD

Yes, but further you get from the equator more variation in daily sunlight hours. Southern Sask. have many places with very high number of yearly sunny hours

ai_vin

Yes, but an east/west dispersal extends the number of hours the grid collects sunlight.

HarveyD

Yes, with coast to coast power grids, you could produce solar power for about 9.5 hours/day instead of 6 hours/day (average) in USA and about 10.5 hours/day in Canada.

Winter time, with shorter sunlight hours, higher early evening peak loads remain a real problem in Canada and Norther States.

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