Innovative solutions to safeguard the Energiewende
Electricity drives our economy and forms the basis of our society. The Energiewende confronts the system with major challenges: Electricity from renewable sources is low-emission, but it is not continuously available. Solutions are being developed for this purpose.
LEAG is embarking on new paths and has built a battery storage facility with a utilisation capacity of 53 megawatt hours (MWh) at the Schwarze Pumpe power plant industrial site.
BigBattery Lausitz combines modern power plant infrastructures with storage technology in a completely new order of magnitude. In this constellation the project is the only one of its kind in Europe, to date.
The storage facility, which is based on lithium-ion technology, is intended to make power generation more flexible and help protect the power grid from fluctuations. BigBattery Lausitz is characterised by innovative charging management and the use of a new type of power plant control system. LEAG is thus contributing another important factor to the system integration of renewable resources.
The BigBattery is located next to the Schwarze Pumpe power plant. On an area of 110 by 62 metres, 13 containers house the lithium-ion batteries. There are also 13 converter containers, a unit transformer and medium and low voltage switchgear. They are the key features of the storage site. Equally significant are the battery and energy management system as well as the internal control, protection and fire alarm technology.
The battery storage facility is connected to the grid at the high voltage level (110 kilovolts). This also provides the connection to the extra-high voltage grid on site.
In July 2019, the symbolic ground-breaking ceremony for the BigBattery was held. After completion of the construction work and assembly of all 8,840 battery modules, commissioning began in March 2020. This was followed by trial operation. At the end of 2020, the BigBattery began continuous operation.
The investment for BigBattery Lausitz amounts to approximately 25 million euros. The main contractor is the Czech energy company EGEM, which is cooperating with regional service providers from Lusatia. The project is funded by the Federal State of Brandenburg.
Pictures of the construction
Pictures: Andreas Franke and LEAG
Supply security for today and tomorrow
Balancing energy is the safety buffer of the German electricity grid. Power generation and consumption must always be kept in equilibrium, otherwise supply disruptions and in the worst case a nationwide power failure, known as a Blackout will occur.
In order to prevent this, the transmission system operators have various types of what is termed balancing energy: They differ, among other things, in the availability time and reaction speed. Thus, primary control energy must be available within 30 seconds.
Secondary control energy follows within five minutes and tertiary control energy within 15 minutes. Their use ensures stable grid operation even in the event of any unforeseen fluctuations in electricity generation or consumption. Most of this operation reserve today comes from conventional power plants, since it must be available absolutely reliably regardless of wind and sun. Here alternative solutions are needed in the course of the Energiewende. A key technology is electricity storage. With BigBattery Lausitz, LEAG is operating one of the largest battery storage systems of its kind.