Increasing electricity usage, international environmental concerns and their associated technical challenges have necessitated significant changes to the existing electricity infrastructure in many countries. Further advances in technology, especially in the communications sector, have also enabled additional monitoring of the electricity network. Two-way communications coupled with two-way power flows from new types of embedded generation have contributed to a revolution away from the traditional power grid. This is known as a Smart Grid, which “integrates and enhances other necessary elements including traditional upgrades and new grid technologies with renewable generation, storage, increased consumer participation, sensors, communications and computational ability” [1]. Energy storage plays an important role in Smart Grids to achieve improved efficiency, reliability, sustainability and economic viability [2].

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This paper provides an overview of zinc-bromide battery module (ZBM)-based energy storage supplied by Redflow Limited (Redflow) and installed as part of the Smart Grid, Smart Cities (SGSC) trial in Australia. It investigates the effect of ZBM-based energy storage on the reduction of peak demand, improvements in reliability and power quality, peak price events, and scalability to megawatt (MW)-sized systems.

This paper will begin with Section 2 as a background to the ZBM technology designed and used by Redflow, as well as a brief summary of the SGSC trial. Section 3 then outlines the methodology used in analysis, before Section 4 presents the results from the study of data, including an investigation of the business case for this type of residential energy storage system. Following this, Section 5 provides an overview of the top-level lessons learnt and further direction for research into using energy storage in Smart Grid applications. Section 6 will then highlight the major conclusions drawn from the study presented in this paper.