With the gradual depletion of fossil fuels and the increasing emphasis on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the large-scale integration of solar and other renewable energy sources into electrical grids – especially low and medium voltage networks – is increasingly vital.
A collaborative effort to reduce risk – and address unique challenges
On an archipelago off the coast of Cannes, Socomec is working in conjunction with Enedis and 6 major partners* to bring electrical security to the Lérins Islands in an innovative and environmentally-aware package – without reliance on back-up generators.
Powered via a single undersea cable connected to the mainland, the islands are vulnerable to cable damage and adverse weather conditions – which could leave the area cut-off from any electric power supply. Managing the supply of gensets and their fuel sources can become prohibitively complex in the operating context of an island.
Electrical security - and storage - for the Lérins Islands
Having successfully completed preliminary tests for the installation of a microgrid at the EDF R&D laboratory for the Lérins Islands project, Socomec’s expertise in electrical energy storage solutions makes the project a natural fit for the group.
Initial modelling carried out in partnership with the University of Padua helped define the product performance requirements for the experiment. The trials resulted in programmed islanding - without interruption of service whilst ensuring energy quality - confirming that it is possible to balance electricity supply and demand by using renewable energy in islanding mode.
In the event of a power outage on the main grid, two batteries take over – without a power outage. The storage system - developed by Socomec – is the key to providing quality energy to the isolated microgrid and is managed from the public electricity distribution system.
Better energy storage for better energy management
Pascal Boos, Product Development Director, explains; “Not only is it possible to secure the power supply in the event of a mains grid fault, but energy produced by renewable sources could also be stored locally to ensure the longest possible supply. Pushing the systems to the extreme enabled us to validate the robustness of the solution and improve performance – prior to commissioning.”
Energy storage is an essential component of tomorrow’s smart electrical grids. A system such as the one tested - and tasked with smoothing PV power output entering the grid - could maximise production and ensure a reserve of capacity during peak hours. The future is in managing variable energy flow, which is achievable via efficient energy storage solutions – even in exceptional environments.
Pascal continues; “The project is further proof that better energy storage enables better utilisation of the various available energy sources - and lays the foundations for critical changes to the way that we store and use energy in the future.”
* Enedis, the Nice Côte d’Azur metropolitan area and the city council of Cannes, Engie, GRDF, GE, Socomec and EDF are associated on this European project funded by the European Commission for 70% of its total budget.