Variable renewables like solar and wind power offer huge potential, but they don’t provide a secure, reliable electricity supply 24 hours a day. Energy storage is the solution, and as the cost of storage technology continues to decline it is becoming a more viable option for local and national grids.
French electricity company EDF announced in November that it has partnered with German energy storage company Stornetic to test the performance of flywheel energy storage technology in a modern grid environment.
EDF will install a DuraStor Energy Storage device from Stornetic at its Concept Grid site, a smart grid test facility near Paris.
The device, which operates mechanically without the use of chemicals, will allow EDF to transform electrical energy into rotation energy and store it.
It is designed for more than one million charging cycles and retains its full capacity throughout its lifetime, Stornetic claims.
“We believe that energy storage solutions will play a key role in the upcoming transformations of the electrical systems,” commented Etienne Brière, renewables and storage programme director at EDF’s R&D unit. “Thanks to the unique EDF experimental facility of Concept Grid, we are able to reproduce real distribution networks and test innovative electrical equipment in fully controllable conditions of operation. Thus, as one of the promising storage solutions, we are very excited to assess the performances of the Stornetic technology regarding various applications such as renewables smoothing or frequency regulation.”
The Concept Grid laboratory aims to reduce the time to market of new smart grid technologies by helping manufacturers, start-ups and academics understand and meet the challenges of a real grid environment. It is composed of 10 km of real electrical medium and low voltage networks, together with several substations and test areas and five small houses fitted with local generation.