In a world first, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) has today begun operation of its electric thermal energy storage system (ETES).
The innovative storage technology makes it possible to store large quantities of energy cost-effectively and thus decouple electricity generation and use.
The heat storage facility contains around 1000 tonnes of volcanic rock as an energy storage medium. It is fed with electrical energy converted into hot air by means of a resistance heater and a blower that heats the rock to 750°C.
When demand peaks, ETES uses a steam turbine for the re-electrification of the stored energy.
The ETES pilot plant can thus store up to 130 MWh of thermal energy for a week. In addition, the storage capacity of the system remains constant throughout the charging cycles.
The pilot facility developed by Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy is located in Hamburg.The aim of the pilot plant is to deliver system evidence of the storage on the grid and to test the heat storage extensively.
In a next step, Siemens Gamesa plans to use its storage technology in commercial projects and scale up the storage capacity and power. The goal is to store energy in the range of several gigawatt hours (GWh) in the near future.
One gigawatt hour is the equivalent to the daily electricity consumption of around 50.000 households.
"Decoupling generation and consumption of fluctuating renewable energy via storage is an essential contribution to implementing the energy system transformation. We therefore need cost-effective, efficient and scalable energy storage systems," demands Andreas Feicht, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy.
By using standard components, it is possible to convert decommissioned conventional power plants into green storage facilities (second-life option).