Flow battery energy storage reduces the impact of peak period electricity demand, delaying the need for expensive upgrades to electricity transmission and distribution equipment.
Existing electricity infrastructure is becoming inadequate to safely and reliably supplying electricity. As a result of rising levels of demand, utilities are experiencing pressure to upgrade their transmission and distribution infrastructure in order to deliver electricity that meets both current and future demands.
While the need to upgrade is becoming more important, the high costs of replacing power lines and equipment such as switchgear and transformers present financial challenges for electricity providers.
As more utilities become concerned with how to defer the expensive replacement of their transmission and distribution assets, energy storage is being investigated as an alternative to traditional infrastructure upgrades. By implementing this solution, transmission and distribution deferral (T&D deferral) becomes more realistic.
When sized and utilised appropriately, flow battery energy storage can charge during times of high renewable generation and discharge during times of peak electricity demand.
Redflow energy storage and transmission and distribution deferral
Our Redflow ZBM flow batteries are suited to storing long-duration energy, making them ideal for storing renewable energy during times of high generation and discharging it during peak periods. When paired with suitable electronics, the ZBM can also aid with other issues such as frequency regulation, voltage regulation, power factor correction and renewables smoothing.
To demonstrate these capabilities, we took part in an 18-month Smart Grid, Smart Cities trial with Australian distribution utility Ausgrid, which saw us operate 60 individual ZBMs in suburban and rural areas. The trial showed a 5–10% reduction during evening peaks in suburban areas and almost a 100% reduction during evening peaks in rural areas.
These results highlight how energy storage can be used to relive pressure on the grid during peak periods. By moderating demand in this way, the need for expensive infrastructure upgrades can be deferred.
Case Study: Utility-owned Smart Grid, Smart Cities Trial