Enel couples storage and coal for greater thermal power flexibility

Endesa, Enel’s Spanish subsidiary is applying the finishing touches before full commissioning of it’s new 20 MW battery storage project.

The large storage facility is sited at the Carboneras coal-fired power plant in Spain, with Enel intending to roll out the new battery storage technology to other coal-fired plants, in a bid to improve thermal power flexibility.
The experience the company is gaining from this initial project will aid the development, design, procurement and construction phases, as well as operation of subsequent projects, the company said Monday.

Enel, which operates 6.3 GW of coal-fired plants in Italy and 5.2 GW in Spain, already has a similar project at its 2 GW Torrevaldaliga Nord plant in Italy, where it is installing a 10 MW battery unit, which should come online by year-end, according to Platts.

These particular battery projects are designed to improve the operational performance of the thermal plants. In particular, the battery supports the power plant in providing ancillary services with a faster response time, according to the company.

By being coupled with the existing infrastructure at the sites, they can also achieve significant financial and operational synergies.

At present, the unit participates in primary frequency regulation by modulating the energy generated and feeding it into the grid. They will accumulate energy during lower demand hours and act as “generators” supplying “instantly” into the grid the energy they have accumulated.

When applied to a thermal plant, this means that its ability to respond to variations in the network will be optimized — a service that is presently remunerated by Italian grid operator Terna.

This will increase the available capacity for use on the ancilary market (MSD), reduced response and action times and an increased gradient of response to balancing orders as well as a reduction in errors in supply.

The coal-fired plant at Carboneras was initially designed to work as a generator of baseload electricity. With the new battery system, the plant will be better equipped to cope with the increased footprint of intermittent renewables, particularly wind, in the region.

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