Store your green energy
Germany is known for it’s renewable energy capacity. But the country has an overflow of renewables.
The possibilities for storage are limited. So since 2014, the excess electricity has been giving away to its neighboring countries.
Although Germany has increased its renewable energy generation by almost five times in the last decade, it has failed to invest in building the necessary infrastructure to store and carry this energy. The excess electricity that is being generated by Germany is spilling over to Poland and Czech Republic, two countries that are investing close to $180 million to shore up their grids from Germany’s power spillage.
It is quite obvious that Germany needs to upgrade its network to accommodate the excess power. Grid companies are set to invest billions for upgrading their network and modify its existing high voltage power lines.
Yes, there is an energy storage technology that has the capability of storing this excess power. The power to gas technology basically converts the excess electricity into gaseous energy by producing a zero carbon hydrogen gas. This gas can then be converted into renewable methane and used as an energy source in future.
German grid operators are welcoming players that can contribute to stabilize its fluctuating energy production. According to Germany’s second biggest grid operator, Tennet TSO GmbH, an energy-balance player must be capable of drawing close to 6MW power from the grid within a period of five minutes while operating on its standard load profile.
With the aid of a plasma, CO2 can be converted to CO, which in turn can react with water to form methane. The renewable electric energy is used to drive a kind of microwave oven in which the plasma is generated. Detour through which the solar or wind energy is being indirectly stored in methane.
What is the price of this power?
According to data from Next Kraftwerke, the price of power capacity that is available in the span of five minutes has reduced to around $1232 per MWh from $1,877 per MWh in January 2015.
However the biggest price drop is for electricity capacity with the capability of reducing output within 15 minutes. Those prices have dropped to $401 per MWh from the earlier $1,794 per MWh in January 2015. In 2014, companies operating in the balancing power market got close to $1.1 billion through direct payments. As Germany tries to double its power output from renewables by 2034, the balancing power market is set to grow in the next few decades.
More storage possibilities
Battery storage is one of the opportunities. The new plant from General Electric for example, will provide Coachella Energy Storage Partners with a 30 MW battery contract. The plant will be located in California’s Imperia Valley. This facility will aid grid flexibility and increase reliability on the IID network by providing solar ramping, frequency regulation, power balancing and black start capability for an adjacent gas turbine.
In order to change this market outlook, it is extremely important that Germany invests in its energy infrastructure and brings it in line with its renewable energy generation. It is ironic that a country which produced around 78% of its power consumption from renewables in July 2015 still struggles to ship its cheap power from the northern region to its southern region.
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