Energy storage technology company Fluence, Siemens AG and Litgrid, Lithuania’s transmission system operator (TSO), have announced the first pilot project in the Baltics to use battery energy storage on the transmission network. The 1 MW pilot near Vilnius will serve as a proof-of-concept for much larger planned projects in Lithuania as the country pursues a synchronous interconnection with the Continental Europe electric grid and a transition to clean energy.
Increasing amounts of renewable energy require additional power flow capacity on key transmission lines at certain points on the grid. With “virtual transmission lines” (VTL), energy storage is placed along a transmission line and operated to inject or absorb real and reactive power, mimicking transmission line flows. Storage deployed this way can also provide numerous other critical network services, including grid-forming capabilities, virtual inertia for local grid stability, black start capability, power oscillation damping and voltage control mode. These capabilities are an important step toward the next level of grid protection and resiliency, enabling the use of energy storage systems to mitigate different types of potential events affecting grid reliability and stability.
“VTL is one of the most exciting applications for battery energy storage. We’re proud to work with a forward-thinking TSO like Litgrid and our partner Siemens to demonstrate the benefits of storage as a transmission asset,” said Manuel Perez Dubuc, Fluence’s CEO. “With more than 13 years of experience developing grid-scale energy storage technology, opening markets and pioneering new applications, Fluence has the technology and expertise to help Litgrid deliver safe, reliable, resilient energy storage systems that support Lithuania’s energy transition.”
Lithuania has plans to pursue energy independence as it integrates synchronously with the Continental European Synchronous Area in 2025 and to increase its use of renewable electricity from 20 percent to 45 percent in 2030, rising to nearly 100 percent by 2050. However, high penetration of non-synchronous renewable generation is likely to present power system stability challenges in the areas of frequency, voltage and stability. Securing the stable operations of Lithuania’s power system during this energy transition requires further innovation and development demonstration, which is why Litgrid is proactively testing energy storage to stabilize the grid and ensure resiliency.
The pilot project with Fluence is Lithuania’s first grid-scale battery-based energy storage system and will be among the first VTL projects in Europe to be tested. Besides traditional frequency control reserves services from battery storage, Litgrid is also testing non-frequency functionalities such as those listed above, with the goal of demonstrating to market participants how simple battery energy storage implementation is and the conditions needed to unlock battery storage’s full potential to deliver ancillary services.
“As the Lithuanian TSO, we are in a unique position. As others, we also face the challenges of the shift to renewable energy, but at the same time we are doing a synchronization project, which is the switch from our current operation in the post-Soviet grid to an independent cooperation with our partners in Europe. This, combined with a system that currently heavily relies on electricity imports, means that we have to be bolder and seek innovative solutions: that’s why we are looking at battery energy storage at the transmission level. There is no doubt that the lessons learned in this pilot project will soon prove to be extremely useful, and not only for us, but also other energy companies in Lithuania and abroad,” said Rokas Masiulis, CEO of Litgrid.
Deploying battery energy storage as a transmission asset is attracting mainstream consideration in markets around the world. With approximately 2.5 GW deployed or awarded to date and more than a decade of experience pioneering new applications, Fluence has been a leading advocate for VTL, publishing guides on building VTL and helping craft and submit proposals for 250 MW systems to regulators in Australia and Chile.