Is knowledge really power?
Yes it is, if we take what we have learned from asset management in other industries and apply it to operational safety in battery energy storage systems.
Utility-scale battery energy storage systems (BESS) are becoming a more common feature of the UK electricity network for the purpose of frequency regulation and balancing. There is also growing interest in the integration of storage systems with renewable technologies such as wind and solar.
This technology has a vital role to play in the global energy mix. It provides an answer to one of the biggest challenges faced by renewable generators, the intermittent nature of supply, offering a way to capture clean energy and balance energy generation against demand.
National Grid has highlighted energy storage as a key growth area and estimates that as much as 30GW installed capacity could be required by 2050.
BESS projects introduce new challenges for operational personnel who may be more familiar with more well-known technologies. However, we can effectively apply the knowledge and experience gained in technologies such as wind and solar to BESS projects. While the use of batteries is nothing new, what is new is the size, complexity, and energy density of the systems, and the Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery chemistry involved. Since there is a lack of familiarity with BESS technology, there is also a lack of knowledge about and the hazards, electrical and chemical, associated with large Li-ion battery installations. And these hazards can lead to significant fire risks.