Energy storage for islands and beyond

In a recent feature article for Decentralized Energy, Michael Lippert from battery manufacturer Saft described how the emergence of megawatt-scale energy storage systems based on Lithium-ion technology is helping operators of power grids located on islands to reduce their use of diesel generators in favour of renewable generation sources; mainly solar PV.

Energy storage systems are essential to compensate for the highly intermittent output from PV arrays.

Michael Lippert
Now, Europe’s electricity trade association EURELECTRIC has published its own guidance on how the continent’s islands can manage their own version of energy transition towards a decentralized generation model. Unsurprisingly, energy storage is part of the picture.

While electricity generation can be decarbonised relatively easily in a small island context, their small markets and isolated locations place greater constraints on the operation of electricity systems. As for mainland grids, the generation output and customer off-take must be balanced at all times; this is more difficult where there isn’t a large distribution system. Islands are therefore a ripe environment for pioneering installations of energy storage systems, alongside distributed generation, active network management and demand response initiatives, says EURELECTRIC. Even small energy storage systems can play a central role in ensuring security of supply.


EURELECTRIC points to several demonstration examples, including Project STORE on Spain’s Canary Islands located off the coast of Morocco. Here, the technical and economic feasibility of three different technologies are being demonstrated in real world settings. Electrochemical storage, here an installation of 1 MW/3 MWh Li-ion batteries on Gran Canaria, is being tested for its capacity to provide demand management and voltage regulation services. Meanwhile two lesser-developed storage technologies ” flywheels and ultra-capacitors are being tested on La Gomera and La Palma.


Of course, energy storage doesn’t need an island setting to be useful ” the technology can also be used in microgrids serving remote, off-grid consumers or areas of grid stress. In all cases, storage helps to maximise the contribution of the intermittent generator. Last month, ABB announced a new microgrid, with combined battery and flywheel-based energy storage technologies for an island forming part of the city of Anchorage, Alaska. The same company has just commissioned a battery-based energy storage system for the new harbour district of Nordhavn, Copenhagen.

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