The French electricity distribution system operator has teamed up with industrial group Socomec to successfully run the “islanding” of an entire district in Nice for up to five hours, demonstrating the ability to use renewables and energy storage in isolation from the national grid.
The trial targeted a district comprising eight industrial clients and three large photovoltaic installations, generating a total of 430 kWp. An energy storage solution was installed with a control system specifically designed to manage the disconnection and reconnection of the district to the mains supply. In disconnected or “islanded” mode, industrial clients continued to be supplied via Socomec’s PCS² energy storage system and photovoltaic production.
Such experiments are important to prepare for winter consumption peaks or power cuts brought on by bad weather. In the medium term, network islanding is a particularly interesting economic alternative to guarantee the reliability of the electricity supply in areas where the upstream supply is unreliable, particularly in poorer countries and in the case of some islands. The prospect is for this storage solution to supply isolated sites that are not connected to mains electricity, together with renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, as well as diesel generators.
Giovanny Diquerreau, Energy Storage Projects Director at Socomec, explains: “The Nice grid project demonstrates that the local management of variable energy flow is achievable via efficient energy storage solutions. Socomec’s dual-function storage converters enable the photovoltaic energy available during the day to be stored in cyclic batteries, then converted and fed back into the network as usable AC current that is injected into the grid. We call this bi-directional conversion – the capability to manage energy supply to meet demand. Furthermore, these bi-directional storage converters can be programmed to operate according to a charging and discharging profile, set in advance by the energy utility provider.”
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