The Bordesholm stand-alone grid ensures power supply even in the event of a grid failure
With a large-scale battery storage system, the public utility company Versorgungsbetriebe Bordesholm in northern Germany is able to supply the European utility grid with balancing energy – a lucrative business model. In a unique experiment, the electric utility company and TH Köln, University of Applied Sciences in Germany, proved that the entire region can be supplied with electricity 100 percent from renewable energies. Setting a milestone for the energy transition.
The municipality of Bordesholm is located in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, between Kiel and Neumünster. The name means “at the shore of the island.” Thanks to an SMA Energy System Large Scale, Bordesholm is living up to its name and is literally heading for new shores with a 15-megawatt storage system. The SMA storage system has a capacity of 15 megawatt hours and, in off-grid operation, ensures the electricity supply for the entire Bordesholm region in the event of grid failure.
A lucrative business model through the primary control reserve
With the Energy System Large Scale – a coordinated system solution featuring seven Sunny Central Storage battery inverters and an SMA Hybrid Controller XL – the public utility company Versorgungsbetriebe Bordesholm (VBB) is able to supply the European utility grid with critical balancing energy. The battery storage system is considered one of the most state-of-the-art balancing energy power plants in the world. If there are sensitive frequency fluctuations in the utility grid, the SMA system supplies energy from the battery storage system within a fraction of a second.
“With SMA, we have a reliable and experienced German partner on our side. Together, we have written a piece of energy history. We are a pioneer for the energy transition reliability towards exclusively renewable sources.”
Dr. Jörg Niedersberg, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Versorgungsbetriebe Bordesholm GmbH
In this way, the electric utility company helps to ensure a stable utility frequency of exactly 50 Hertz – and participation in the primary control energy market opens up lucrative business opportunities.
Stand-alone grid ensures a reliable supply at all times
However, the SMA Energy System Large Scale can do so much more. In the event of a power outage, it forms a stand-alone grid within fractions of a second. In doing so, it supplies the connected loads with fully renewable energy from PV systems and biomass and CHP plants without any interruptions.
In a research project at the end of 2019, the public utility company Versorgungsbetriebe Bordesholm and TH Köln, University of Applied Sciences in Germany, simulated a large-scale power outage. They disconnected Bordesholm from the European utility grid for one hour via the synchronous tie breaker. Best of all, the 8,000 residents of Bordesholm did not even notice it. All households, businesses and institutions were still supplied with electricity without any interruptions. It no longer came from the European utility grid but within the Bordesholm stand-alone grid — 100 percent from renewable energies.
“With the SMA Energy System Large Scale, we are proving that it is possible to run a public electricity grid on fully renewable energy and maintain stable frequencies. In doing so, we have created a starting point for the development of largely self-sufficient electricity grids. On a larger scale, the world could one day have an energy supply that is not dependent whatsoever on fossil fuels or nuclear power.”
Frank Günther, General Manager of Versorgungsbetriebe Bordesholm GmbH
This is because the SMA Energy System Large Scale is so intelligent that it can establish its own stand-alone grid at European grid quality within a matter of seconds. The electricity comes from connected renewable energy generators, which are PV systems and biomass and CHP plants. The fiber-optic network KNÖV-NetT ensures stable and fast communication between the individual power generation plants, loads and the battery storage system.
Once the public utility grid is available again, the SMA Energy System Large Scale automatically resynchronizes the stand-alone grid with the European grid and reconnects to it.
Power outage protection in the event of grid failure
And the best thing is that, thanks to the black start function, the SMA battery inverter and SMA Hybrid Controller can automatically restart the grid within seconds using energy from the battery and renewable energy generators, even in the event of an unplanned power outage in the public utility grid. Once the public utility grid is available again, the municipality can synchronize back to it at any time using the SMA system.
Whether power outages are planned or unplanned – with the SMA Energy System Large Scale, the public utility company Versorgungsbetriebe Bordesholm is able to secure the power supply of the entire municipality 24/7. The Bordesholm stand-alone grid is proof that entire regions can provide for themselves using 100 percent renewable energies. Bordesholm is also a flagship now – for Germany, Europe, and the whole world.
Setting a milestone for the energy transition.
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