The European Commission has awarded a €13.3 million grant to eStorage, a group of European stakeholders representing the electric power value chain. The grant is to help develop a solution for cost-effective integration of renewable energy generation, such as wind or solar, to the electrical grid.
One challenge with renewable energy is that is can be intermittent – if the wind isn’t blowing, then wind turbines are not operating. Another challenge is that there is no great way to store renewable energy for later use. With this in mind, some forms of renewable energy technologies cannot be used as a sole source for generating power. This in the goal of eStorage – to develop energy storage technologies that are cost-effective and can be widely deployed.
The first phase of the project will focus on upgrading the Le Cheylas fixed speed Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Plant (PSP) to a variable speed PSP. Once complete, Le Cheylas will provide 70 MW of additional power at night that will allow the integration of several hundred MW of intermittent renewable generation. This will demonstrate that a significant portion of European PSP capacity can be upgraded to variable speed, providing up to 10 GW of additional power with no environmental impact and at a much lower cost than developing new plants.
The consortium will also develop and demonstrate solutions for coupling the dispatch of storage plants with renewable generation using advanced energy and market management systems. This will enable PSPs to maximise their value in the balancing markets.