What is a Battery Energy Storage System?

Friday March 22nd 2024

Fully Charged Show BESS

A Battery Energy Storage System in Pillswood, Hull. Image credit Fully Charged Show.

Written by Midlothian View Editor, Phil Bowen

Battery Energy Storage Systems have been in the news this week as Recommendation not to object to Battery Energy Storage System in the Borders.

In Midlothian there is already an application for a BESS on Land to North of Former Quarry Broad Law Gorebridge and recently the Buccleuch Group has hosted a public information day as they are due to submit an application for a BESS on land on Salters Road.

So what is a BESS? We thought it would be a good idea to put together this explainer article.

A Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) is like a big rechargeable battery that stores electricity. It works by storing excess electricity when it’s available, such as when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing, and then releasing it when needed, such as during peak demand times or when there’s a power outage. BESS helps balance the supply and demand of electricity, making the National grid more stable and reliable.

A BESS is important for several reasons:

  1. Grid Stability: BESS helps balance the supply and demand of electricity on the grid, which is essential for maintaining stable and reliable power distribution. It can store excess electricity generated during periods of low demand and release it during times of high demand, thus helping to stabilize the grid.
  2. Renewable Energy Integration: BESS plays a crucial role in integrating renewable energy sources like solar and wind into the grid. These energy sources can be intermittent, producing electricity when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing. BESS can store surplus renewable energy for later use, smoothing out fluctuations in supply and ensuring a consistent power supply.
  3. Peak Shaving and Load Management: BESS helps reduce peak demand on the grid by storing electricity during off-peak hours when demand is low and releasing it during peak demand times. This practice, known as peak shaving, helps lower electricity costs and reduces the need for additional power generation capacity.
  4. Backup Power: In areas prone to power outages or in critical facilities like hospitals and data centres, BESS can provide backup power supply. This ensures continuity of operations and prevents disruptions caused by grid failures or emergencies.
  5. Energy Efficiency: BESS improves the overall efficiency of the National Grid by reducing waste and optimizing the use of electricity. It enables more effective utilization of renewable energy resources and promotes energy conservation practices.
  6. Environmental Benefits: By facilitating the integration of renewable energy sources and reducing reliance on fossil fuels, BESS helps mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. It contributes to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly energy system.

Overall, Battery Energy Storage Systems play a critical role in modernizing and enhancing the resilience, reliability, and sustainability of the electrical grid. They enable the efficient storage and utilization of electricity, supporting the transition to a cleaner and more sustainable energy future.

A BESS stores electrical energy in the form of chemical energy within batteries for later use. It typically consists of one or more battery packs, power conversion systems, and control systems.

Here’s a breakdown of its components and functionality:

  1. Battery Packs: These are the core components of the system, comprising rechargeable batteries. These batteries store electrical energy when it’s available, typically during periods of low demand or when renewable energy sources like solar or wind are producing excess power. Battery packs can vary in size and chemistry depending on the specific application and requirements.
  2. Power Conversion Systems: BESS usually includes power conversion equipment such as inverters and converters. These components convert the DC (direct current) electricity stored in the batteries into AC (alternating current) electricity that can be used to power electrical devices or fed into the grid.
  3. Control Systems: BESS relies on sophisticated control systems to manage the charging and discharging of the batteries, ensuring efficient operation and maximizing their lifespan. These control systems may incorporate software algorithms that optimize energy storage and discharge based on factors such as electricity prices, demand patterns, and grid stability.

We hope you found this explanation useful. The video below from the Fully Charged Show is also worth a watch.


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