New storage interconnection rules yield Italy’s first solar-smoothing plant

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Plans by Italy’s grid operator to allow for the interconnection of energy storage to the network have resulted in the country’s first grid-connected solar-smoothing storage facility being inaugurated.  

Grid operator Terna has put in place the rules for interconnection which led many energy storage industry observers to keep a close eye on developments in the southern European country’s electricity sector.

Renewable energy developer Enel Green Power yesterday unveiled the 1MW/2MWh storage system yesterday in Catania, Sicily. It connects to an Enel Green Power 10MWp PV plant, with Enel describing the storage element as an “integral part” of the Catania 1 solar project.

The grid-connected storage will smooth out power quality from the PV system and allow its variable generation to be fed into the grid optimally. It will allow for more flexible management of the plant’s output but also, its value to the electricity network will in theory be maximised by it being used to provide grid services.

The facility has been undergoing testing since May, utilising General Electric’s Durathon batteries, which are molten salt-based (sodium-metal halide). GE and Enel Green Power – a subsidiary of Italian power generation firm Enel – have signed a partnership to investigate the grid integration of renewable energy plants. Part of the scope of the Catania project’s application will be to smooth out the difference between forecasted and actual output of renewable energy generators.

Enel Green Power is also currently constructing a storage project using 2MW/2MWh of Samsumg SDI batteries to be connected with an 18MW wind farm and connected to the high voltage grid. The company said it is keen to take its learnings from storage in Italy to other markets, namechecking Romania, Spain, Chile, Mexico, Peru, North America, South Africa and Kenya all as potential countries of interest.

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