Maxwell and Siemens Partner on Transmission Solutions to Stabilize Global Power Grids

September 06, 2018 by Paul Shepard

Maxwell Technologies, Inc. announced a grid energy storage subsystem design-in with Siemens to deliver economical, fast responding, long life grid voltage and frequency support solutions. The new Siemens Static VAR Compensator plus Frequency Stabilizer (SVC PLUS FS) enables ISOs, electric utilities and transmission system operators to have better control of their grids and reduce the risk of blackouts.

The combined effect of the rapid increase in solar and wind electricity generation with the decommissioning of traditional coal and gas-fired power plants runs the risk of increasing momentary grid imbalances due to less inertia in the grid. Power loss caused by these imbalances can result in significant economic damage for electricity consumers, as they may be dropped from the grid during periods of system instability.

The grid system inertia deficit is directly addressed in Siemens' SVC PLUS FS through the use of ultracapacitor (supercapacitor) energy storage. Maxwell's Grid Energy Storage Systems are an integral design element in the SVC PLUS FS that provide system inertia in the form of fast, active power injection, which bridges the time gap between grid disruption and the activation of secondary power reserves.

The SVC PLUS FS can feed the reactive power needed for stable grid operation in less than 50ms. At the same time, up to 200MW of electric power stored in the ultracapacitors can be transferred to the grid.

Maxwell Grid Energy Storage System

Due to their rapid response time at high power levels, long lifetime, and minimal maintenance, Maxwell ultracapacitors were selected as the energy storage asset of choice to provide grid frequency and voltage support. Moreover, due to the high power density of the ultracapacitor subsystem, the SVC PLUS FS takes up about two-thirds less space than a comparable battery storage solution at the reference power of 50MW.

"Through a rigorous evaluation of various energy storage technologies and manufacturers, it became clear that Maxwell was the best partner for integration in the SVC PLUS FS solution based upon their capability to design and engineer grid-scale systems utilizing their field-proven commercial supercapacitor technology," said Alexander Rentschler, head of product lifecycle management for transmission solutions at Siemens.

"We look forward to deploying SVC PLUS FS, enabled by Maxwell's Grid Energy Storage Systems, that will provide grid operators with an efficient and future-proofed solution to maintain grid power stability and enable more renewable power generation," Rentschler added.

SVC PLUS FS built by Siemens and enabled by Maxwell Technologies' ultracapacitor solution secures the energy and bridging reserves necessary to provide protection against emergency grid system imbalances. As a result, grid reliability increases and the operational expenses for fossil based, short duration must-run generation, as well as GHG and CO2 emissions, are reduced.

Further, the system is highly adaptable and flexible in the face of evolving grid demands. If additional power is required, grid operators can install additional ultracapacitor subsystems at a lower cost than investing in fossil-based reserve capacity or keeping older power stations operating in an inefficient stand-by mode.

"The Siemens partnership further validates Maxwell's strategic expansion into grid system products and the market demand for fast responding, long asset life, ultracapacitor grid energy storage," said Thibault Kassir, vice president and general manager of energy storage at Maxwell Technologies. "The SVC PLUS FS system is a breakthrough FACTS solution for grid operators, as they are faced with increased pressure to be more efficient and enable more solar and wind energy generation. We are very excited to be the chosen energy storage provider to Siemens in the deployment of their advanced systems."