First battery storage in V4 countries certified for ancillary services

Project beginning
Implemented system
ASDR terminal
Business Area

A unique project by energy innovators from Slovakia brings new possibilities for the use of battery storage to our region. In August 2022, it was possible to successfully certify the first battery storage, which, in addition to deviation regulation, can also be used to provide Ancillary services (AS).

The high price of electricity is also reflected in the high settlement prices for the deviation. This motivates energy market participants to manage their own deviation and the deviation of their balancing group more effectively. They can thus reduce the costs associated with deviation and optimize their consumption. Battery storages - BESS (Battery Energy Storage System) have become an increasingly popular tool for managing deviation.

Recent legislative changes have refined the legislative framework and facilitated the use of battery storage. At the same time, the falling prices of batteries and the rising price of electricity significantly reduced the return on investment in the given technology. Thanks to the positive development in the market, many entities are already using battery storage for regulation of the deviation.

Innovation in the form of active power and frequency regulation (FCR) ancillary services

The latest innovation on the market is the extension of the use of battery storage to the provision of FCR (Frequency Containment Reserve) ancillary services. Primary power and frequency regulation (FCR) balances the production and consumption of electricity within the synchronous area by regulating the speed or active power of the device providing the AS. The goal of FCR is to ensure the operational safety of the energy system in the synchronous area and to stabilize the system frequency at the equilibrium value after a fault within a time frame of tens of seconds, i.e. during the interval until the activation of slower AS, especially aFRR and mFRR (secondary and tertiary power regulation), starts to ensure the balance.

The nominal value of the frequency in the network is 50 Hz and characterizes the state of balance between the immediate production and consumption of electricity. If the network frequency is higher than the nominal one, it is necessary to take energy from the network and the battery reacts by charging. If the frequency is reduced, it is necessary to supply electricity to the network and the battery is discharged.

The battery management system must continuously balance the energy state in the storage to ensure that there is enough electricity for the storage to respond to the next frequency deviation. In the case of FCR, the systemic deviation is balanced in the long run. This means that the ratio of negative and positive deviation is approximately the same, and regulation can be ensured even with a relatively low storage capacity of the device from the point of view of the amount of available energy. It is this fact that creates suitable prerequisites for the use of BESS to provide AS FCR.

Battery storage can regulate the frequency due to the ability of fast response of charging and discharging. The uniqueness of the solution lies in the ability to provide ancillary services directly from the battery storage without the need for a classic "rotating" source of electrical energy.

Battery storage project in Martin

The first battery storage, which was certified for the purpose of FCR, is located in the area of the former ZŤS Martin plant. It has a capacity of 1.2 MWh, an output of 1.25 MW and is operated by Greenbat. Greenbat, as the project's main investor, has a long-term focus on the design and operation of various types of battery storage installations and photovoltaic power plants, thus contributing to the faster integration of renewable energy sources and ensuring the flexibility of the energy system.

Michal Pňaček, manager and owner of GreenBat says:

"We saw an opportunity in the market that directly supported our vision of the energy market in the future. We always strive to be the market leader and bring innovations. That is why we are very happy that we were the first to expand the functionality of BESS to include the provision of ancillary services."

Marian Smik, manager and owner of GreenBat adds:

"Michal and I embarked on a new solution that was unknown for the Central European region. We were looking for the right procedure to install battery storage and especially to find the most suitable application. It was necessary to bring together up to 10 subjects, whom we thank for their willingness and cooperation."

Several companies focused on innovations in energy participated in the successful implementation and certification of Greenbat BESS in Martin.

The supplier of battery systems for the project was MTS. It is one of the Slovak leaders in the supply of complex systems that are easily scalable for the storage, distribution and monitoring of electrical energy. The primary customers of similar solutions are mainly manufacturing companies, local distribution networks, power stations for charging cars and other devices with high and unstable electricity consumption.

Roman Pavlík, director of operations of MTS Liptovský Mikuláš adds:

"Given that MTS manufactures battery storage in Slovakia and most of it is exported, we were interested in installing BESS for applications with which we have experience abroad. For example, the primary regulation of FCR has been in operation with our products in Scandinavia since 2020. The success of the project in Slovakia depended on close cooperation with GreenBat and IPESOFT, and we are glad that we found a professional approach and thanks to this, we were able to launch in an unrivalled short time the aforementioned BESS application."

One of the main partners is the green supplier of energy from renewable sources Right Power, which participated in the implementation of the project at the level of connection to the system and also at the level of investment partnership.

Lukáš Choma, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Right Power says:

"Our company is dedicated to supporting green and innovative solutions. In addition to batteries, we plan to install photovoltaic power plants and also technologies for the production of hydrogen. Such a composition of energy solutions contributes to a higher share of renewable resources."

The IT support of the innovative project was provided by the Žilina company IPESOFT. It has long-term experience in supplying energy IT solutions for current actors in the ancillary services market. [4] Therefore, they could easily use their long-term expertise also for the unique conditions associated with the provision of FCR using battery storage.

In addition to the provision of IT infrastructure, IPESOFT, as an authorized entity for AS certifications in the Slovak Republic, also provided technical training, pre-complex and comprehensive exams, together with the final AS certification according to SEPS conditions, which took place on August 11-12. 2022

Tomáš Rajčan, Director of the Department of Energy and Industry, IPESOFT describes the project:

"We see great potential in the use of battery systems and their role in providing the flexibility and regulatory capacity that will be essential for the safe integration of renewable sources into energy systems. Renewable sources bring cheap and permanently renewable energy to the system, but at the same time, due to the variability of the weather, they represent a challenge for ensuring the stability of electrical networks. I am glad that together with our partners we managed to develop and certify a solution that will contribute to increasing the safety and reliability of electricity supplies not only in the Slovak Republic but throughout the EU."

The experience of all interested parties, together with their willingness to innovate and push the boundaries of Slovak energy, was reflected in the solution of the project. Thanks to the provision of FCR ancillary services, the battery storage facility is the first of its kind not only in Slovakia but also in the V4 countries.

IT system for FCR ancillary services

Operational support for the provision of AS is provided by the Terminal of the Automated Dispatch Control System of the AS provider (hereinafter referred to as the "ASDR terminal"). The ASDR terminal is a technical device that is responsible for the automation and formalization of communication with the SEPS dispatch. The ASDR terminal, on the other hand, communicates with the battery management system and ensures the activation of charging and discharging based on system frequency deviations.

"One of the challenges we had to solve during the implementation of the system was to design and test the management algorithm of the charging strategy of the battery system, the task of which is to ensure a continuous supply of energy in the storage based on the strict conditions set in the SEPS technical conditions. The proposed algorithm ensures the possibility of providing AS FCR in continuous mode, 24 hours a day, without interruption of AS supply. Energy recharging takes place in parallel with the regulation of deviation and frequency, respects all technological limitations of the battery system and is in full compliance with SEPS requirements for the quality of supplied AS," adds Tomáš Rajčan.

An important part of the IT system is also the add-on solution ensuring the support of business processes. The add-on solution is operated within the IPESOFT cloud infrastructure and ensures battery storage operation planning, AS operation preparation and complete integration into the SEPS Damas Energy business system. The add-on solution provides the operator with a complete technical and economic evaluation of the BESS operation.

Correct evaluation and prediction of the situation in the energy market are critical for the economic efficiency of the deviation regulation and the provision of FCR. Thanks to the systems, Greenbat experts can easily check the operation of the last trading day via mobile phone, monitor predictions of future market development and, based on this, make a more qualified decision on whether to regulate the deviation or provide FCR. The entire process is automated and all necessary information is available in the cloud from anywhere.

Screenshot of the system

The perspective of battery storage and AS in the future

It is likely that after the first successful implementation, more BESS installations will be added with the aim of providing FCR. The market situation and innovations in the field of sustainable energy certainly favor this.

"We want to continue with similar innovations on the energy market. If the operation of BESS in Martin proves to be successful, we plan to add more," concludes Marian Smik.

Another positive factor for the growth of the popularity of similar solutions is the planned creation of a European market for the exchange of regulatory services through the PICASSO and MARI European platforms. The PICASSO and MARI platforms will ensure the exchange of regulatory energy within the ancillary services with automatic activation (aFRR) and manual activation (mFRR) in the context of the whole EU. The Slovak Republic's connection to the PICASSO and MARI regulatory platforms is planned for 2024.

For the FCR ancillary services, the market is currently organized only within Slovakia. However, a joint coordinated purchase of FCR within the framework of the FCRC platform (FCR cooperation) is being prepared. The date of joining the SR to the common FCRC platform has not yet been specified.

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