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ABS for the power grid

A dynamic system for successful energy transition

Die Integration von zunehmend erneuerbaren Energiequellen wie Wind und Photovoltaik stellt unser österreichisches Stromnetz vor neue Herausforderungen. Um das aktuell hohe Niveau der Versorgungssicherheit zu halten und die Integration von erneuerbaren Energieträgern zu ermöglichen, brauchen wir neue innovative Lösungsansätze und Speichertechnologien.

The Hertz frequency of the European power grid

The share of renewable energies in the European electricity supply is growing across the entire continent?– a situation that has fundamental consequences for the electricity transmission and distribution networks throughout the region. Power grids can only function if the delicate balance between electricity supply and demand is precisely maintained. That balance is indicated by the frequency of the grid. At a frequency of 50?hertz, the system is stable and the supply of electricity is maintained. Minute fluctuations from the 50-hertz reference frequency are a matter of course for a transmission system operator such as APG. In fact, keeping such fluctuations within a few millihertz at all times is our main responsibility. 

However, the growing volumes of renewable energies being fed into the grid in combination with increasing shutdowns of thermal power plants in recent years has led to greater frequency fluctuations, resulting in a greater need for new balancing technologies.

An intelligent assistance system for power grid operation - ABS for the power grid

APG is addressing the problem by developing intelligent assistance systems for power grid operation, similar to the ABS technology developed for modern cars. Fast-reacting and intelligently controlled battery storage systems are becoming increasingly important in this respect, as they can compensate for such frequency fluctuations almost in real time. 

Our “ABS for the power grid” project involves conducting research on the highly dynamic properties of intelligent battery storage systems and their possible applications, such as automatically maintaining grid frequency. Because they are capable of storing electrical energy, battery storage systems are becoming increasingly important in energy supply. The available technologies in this field are already well advanced. What’s new is the concept of using battery storage and other quick start systems to provide grid operators with new, highly dynamic system services to ensure system stability, as well as defining the need for such services and the requirements to implement them in both a national and a European context.

Just as anti-lock braking systems are used in cars as a kind of active safety system, battery storage systems utilise intelligent algorithms for the purpose of identifying – within just milliseconds – any fluctuations in frequency that existing technical mechanisms are unable to offset and then stabilising the grid. The only project of its kind in Europe, “ABS for the power grid” aims to create the basis for technologically neutral solutions. At the end of the project, a technically neutral assessment of the research findings will be made and the findings will be scaled up for use in European electricity networks. 

Austria's electricity grid - batteries for better grid stability

At the heart of the project is a 1-MW/500-kWh battery storage system. Lithium-ion battery cell technologies are a proven standard. By contrast, inverters have to be custom designed to ensure they provide sufficient flexibility for conducting research in a highly dynamic range and have their own parameterisation options for running field tests"

Project coordination

Austrian Power Grid

Project partners

Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT), Vienna University of Technology, VERBUND

Project duration

May 2018 - December 2021

Project volumes

€2.6m (excluding battery storage system), €1.8m of which was provided by the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund as part of its energy research programme

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