Battery energy storage is set to make its debut on a significant scale in the Sultanate as part of the planned development of a series of small-scale solar PV – diesel hybrid projects across Oman. The Rural Areas Electricity Company (Tanweer), a subsidiary of The Electricity Holding Company (Nama Group), is planning to shortly invite shortlisted bidders to submit firm proposals for 11 hybrid power projects due to be established at remote locations across the utility’s expansive license.
Fourteen international consortiums have been prequalified to participate in the procurement process, which will culminate in one successful bidder securing an award for the development of all 11 plants as a single Independent Power Project (IPP). Significantly, battery energy storage will account for 28 megawatts (MW) of the total 146 MW of new solar PV – diesel hybrid capacity that will be developed as part of the IPP. Solar PV capacity will account for another 48 megawatts-peak (MWp), while the balance 70 MW will comprise diesel generation capacity.
Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) deployed at each of the 11 sites will have an important role in addressing any fluctuations in supply, among other benefits, according to a key official of Tanweer. Eng Abdullah Sabil al Balushi, Senior Renewables Energy Engineer, said that Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) can store excess solar PV power produced during the afternoon for use in the evening and thereby reduce the demand for costly diesel-based generation. Additionally, power conversion devices built into the battery storage system will enable responses in 100 milliseconds in the event of a supply shortfall or outage.
“This fast response allows to improve the operation of the isolated grid as the BESS can provide several additional ancillary services such as reactive power and voltage control, fast load following and addressing energy imbalances,” he said in a presentation at the Oman Sustainable Energy and Technology Summit held at the Crowne Plaza Muscat last week. The two-day event was organised by WPS Summits.
Furthermore, battery storage will make a significant contribution to the spinning reserves requirement of each solar PV – diesel hybrid plant. With a BESS system in place, one less diesel generation (DG) unit needs to be run in order to maintain reliability, thus boosting the load factor and efficiency of DGs in operation, he said. “The BESS would discharge only for a short duration, long enough to start another diesel generator to pick up the load. This would be the main application of the system,” he added.