The drive towards innovation

Innovation is a crucial and strategic issue for the Company: the Power Asset & Engineering Division makes a daily commitment to this issue and mainly focuses on consolidated processes and systems; however, on certain occasions, the drive to innovate comes from outside the Division.

The installation of an innovative energy storage system using 500 kW / 500 kWh lithium batteries, integrated with the existing 3.3-MW Altomonte photovoltaic system, was proposed in 2016.

The supply and commissioning of the energy storage system will take place in 2017, while 2018 will see testing and the subsequent collection and analysis of data on use. It will therefore be possible to make the most of the role of energy storage with respect to the limitation of unbalancing in photovoltaic operations, arbitration and the optimisation of transfer to the grid, as well as to simulate the energy storage system’s participation in the dispatching service market. The results of tests conducted may also confirm the storage system’s suitability for the supply of other services as a complement to Edison’s thermoelectric power plants. Various external drivers make experimentation into energy storage systems particularly interesting: in addition to a constant reduction in the production cost of batteries worldwide, needs for grid services are growing due to the development of renewable energies, in particular those that are distributed and not programmable (i.e. residential photovoltaic power plants). The energy storage systems already provide particular network services on certain foreign markets (e.g., in the US and the UK) and expected developments in the regulatory context will, in the medium term, enable batteries to participate more extensively in electric markets in Italy as well. This project is part of a wider European debate on the impact of non-programmable renewable energy sources on electric grids and the role of batteries in facilitating these sources and increasing their integration.