Italy’s electricity transmission system operator has awarded a tender to Younicos, Samsung SDI and Italian renewable energy producer Green Utility to provide 1MW/1MWh of battery storage aimed at stabilising Sardinia's electrical grid.

Younicos will install the battery, to be implemented as part of Terna’s 2012 Grid Defense Plan. The plan is one of two macro-projects the operator has launched involving investment in storage systems, the other being the 2011 Grid Development Plan.

The 2012 Defense Plan has two phases, with the Sardinia battery installed in the first phase, dubbed 'storage lab'. During this phase 16MW of large-scale energy storage will be deployed across several projects and their performance assessed via a series of pilot schemes. Following a successful storage lab trial phase, the second phase of the plan will see 24MW of storage deployed in Sardinia and Sicilly.

The 1MW/1MWh Sardinia battery system will be lithium-ion based, with another 1MW/1MWh that can be added as an option. Control software has been developed by Younicos, with the company’s chief technical officer Clemens Triebel saying Terna’s “ambitious” approach to storage made the operator a “role model for Europe”.

Speaking about the control system, Triebel said: “We’re eager to demonstrate how we can use our intelligent software and experience in frequency control and battery management to economically integrate industrially available batteries into existing grids today, thus balancing fluctuating renewable energy sources. This allows us to turn off CO2-intensive thermal power plants when they are not needed.”

Triebel added that Germany, where Younicos is based, could learn a valuable lesson from Terna, in order to understand the importance of quickly expanding the available capacity of efficient short-term energy storage, with Germany in the midst of a transition away from nuclear and fossil fuels and onto renewable energy. In July last year Younicos also got the green light to go ahead with a 6MW storage trial in the UK.

Electrical energy storage, including deployment at grid scale, is the topic of 'Put up or shut up time for storage', a feature article in the latest volume of Solar Business Focus, available now.

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