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Pilot storage projects


The growing increase in electricity generation plants using non-programmable renewable sources (NPRSs), especially in the Southern regions of Italy and on the two biggest islands have had an increasingly tangible impact in recent years on the dispatching of electricity and in general on the safe operation of the National Electricity System. In order to optimise generation from renewable sources and at the same time ensure increased security management of the Electricity System, Terna has identified energy storage as one of the possible solutions to the problem, planning the installation of new storage technologies connected to the National Electricity Transmission Grid (NTG). The innovative nature of using such systems on the NTG has led to Terna embarking on a first experimental phase for the realisation of two pilot projects, needed to test and validate the use of electro-chemical storage at the “utility-scale” level. The results of the experiment conducted by Terna will in fact make it possible to identify the potential and margins for improvement in battery storage, encouraging the development of innovative systems and solutions aimed at integrating new grid functions and optimising those which already exist.

Storage Lab

Under the Defence Plan for the Security of the Italian Electricity System 2012-2015, Terna has identified a 40 MW storage-system installation programme so as to exploit the potential offered by the rapid response times of storage systems to increase the operating security margins of the HV grids on the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. 

Considering the highly innovative nature of the Project, Terna has decided to divide the programme into an initial, highly experimental phase, called Storage Lab, which envisages the installation of a total of approximately 16 MW of various storage technologies, divided into approximately 8 MW in Sicily and 8 MW in Sardinia.

The Storage Lab, globally unique in terms of the variety of technologies available and its innovative control systems, currently has an overall capacity of approximately 12.5 MW and 18.2 MW of storage technologies, commissioned at different times. The individual storage units, approximately 1 MW, are lithium-based (9.2 MW, 5 types) and of the ZEBRA type (3.4 MW, 2 types). Terna is currently integrating the projects with "flow battery" technologies and plans to complete the 16 MW programme by subsequently testing supercapacitor-based systems. 

As well as a “grid scale”, programme the Storage Lab has also scheduled a “module scale” programme, testing the individual modules representing each technology at the facilities of the respective suppliers as well as the RSE, CESI, CNR and ENEA laboratories. The overall results of the experimentation will allow the most promising technologies to be chosen for the completion of the remaining 24 MW envisaged by the Defence Plan integrating them where appropriate with each other and with Terna's central control systems so as to maximise the benefits to the System. 

The documents relative to the experimentation are listed below:

Large scale energy storage

As part of the NTG Development Plan 2011, Terna has planned Large Scale Energy Storage projects on portions of the 150 kv grid in Southern Italy proving critical in terms of the high frequency of grid congestion caused by an excessive use of NPRS.

With the primary focus on reducing such congestion, Terna has planned a highly innovative project based on the use of "energy intensive" electrochemical storage technologies, in other words with a high storage capacity compared to the plant power, selecting the NAS battery technology via tender (sodium/sulphur technology) as the most suitable for the purpose. 

Terna then divided the total 35 MW storage programme approved by the Ministry of Economic Development among the following three NCSSs (Non-Conventional Storage System), each connected to a 20/150 KV substation connected to the NTG:

  • Ginestra SANC: a 12 MW plant with net energy capacity of approximately 80 MWh, located in Castelfranco in Miscano (Benevento) and part of the 150 kV “Benevento 2 – Montefalcone – Celle San Vito” backbone;
  • Flumeri SANC: a 12 MW plant with net energy capacity of approximately 80 MWh, located in Flumeri (Avellino) and part of the 150 kV “Benevento 2 – Bisaccia 380” backbone;
  • Scampitella SANC: a 10.8 MW plant with net energy capacity of approximately 72 MWh, located in Scampitella (Avellino) and part of the 150 kV “Benevento 2 – Bisaccia 380” backbone;

After a temporary operating and tuning phase with on-site monitoring throughout 2015, the three NCSS plants are currently operating under remote control. The functions developed to conduct and ease the grid services of the storage units not only enable the remote control of the plants so as to optimise planned primary objectives (mitigation of NPRS), but also contribute significantly to maintaining NTG security (e.g. primary frequency regulation) and making the most of the highly innovative nature of the project (e.g. experimental calibration of the primary regulation and easement of the secondary f-P regulation, development of new, advanced conduction, monitoring and dispatching functions etc.).

The documents relating to the experimentation are listed below.

Rapporto pubblico anno 2015 – Progetti Pilota di sperimentazione di accumulo energetico Energy Intensive – Report di esercizio in assetto provvisorio (Italian version only)

Rapporto pubblico anno 2016 – Progetti Pilota di sperimentazione di accumulo energetico Energy Intensive (Italian version only)

Addendum al Rapporto Pubblico anno 2016 – Progetti Pilota di sperimentazione di accumulo energetico Energy Intensive (Italian version only)