On other islands, such as La Palma or La Gomera, storage facilities are already operating, such as auxiliary services for ensuring the quality of the electric system. At the Los Guinchos plant, in La Palma, an ultra-capacitator contributes to the stability of the grid by injecting energy in the event of any problem in a generator group. The equipment is charged with the energy generated at the plant, which is stored until it is needed, in order to prevent service interruptions. In La Gomera, a flywheel contributes towards improving the frequency stability on the island, a solution that mainly works in small grids.
At the Carboneras plant (Almería) we are building the largest electric battery in Spain. This battery will enable the plant to adjust to the new requirements of the electric system, which includes increasingly more energy from intermittent renewable sources, especially wind, which require it to regulate its production and apply backup functions to cover the demand at all times.
In Melilla, we have a pilot project for large-scale energy storage that employs a pioneer system featuring used electric car batteries. The system, which offers a second life to these previously used devices, allows to improve the guarantee of electrical supply in the city with an instantaneous injection of up to 4 MW of power into the grid for 15 minutes.
We are also participating in projects to analyse other storage applications, such as the THESIS project for thermal storage in generation, which will examine alternatives to exploit residual heat in thermal groups to generate energy.
The electric car as a storage technology: V2G
Storage technology does not only focus on power generation plants, but may also apply to solutions that directly benefit the end user. The electric car, for example, may be an authentic “battery on wheels”.
The vehicle simply has to be plugged in to become an integral part of the electrical grid, helping to stabilise it: this is the idea on which V2G (Vehicle to Grid) technology is based, which Enel is already developing in various European countries.
Thanks to this technology, electric car users can charge their vehicle’s battery during off-peak times and discharge the surplus energy into their installation when energy is more expensive or during peak-consumption times. This is a smart battery that interacts with the supply network.
With V2G technology, in addition to contributing to the stability of the grid, ensuring the flow of energy, a major step has been taken in the development of smart grids, being a tool that allows for an improved balance of supply and demand between electricity producers and consumers. In Malaga, six V2G chargers are in operation, installed during the Zem2All project, which form part of the real-life tests that are being carried out in evolution towards smart cities.
These are just some of the initiatives with which we intend to contribute towards achieving a zero-emission model. We are investing in energy storage as a key factor in this transition process, which is bringing us increasingly closer to a more sustainable future.