Red Eléctrica de España has put into operation at the 66 kilovolt (kV) Macher substation, located in the vicinity of the Canarian town of Tias (Lanzarote), a system based on flywheel technology that stores energy and acts as a frequency and voltage stabilizer of the Fuerteventura-Lanzarote electricity system. The installation of this flywheel, to which Red Eléctrica has allocated €1.5 million euros, will help to better integrate renewable generation into non-peninsular systems.
This pioneering R&D+i project in Spain today received the visit of the Regional Minister of Employment, Industry and Commerce of the Government of the Canary Islands, Francisca Luengo, and the General Manager of System Operation of Red Eléctrica, Andrés Seco, who were accompanied by representatives of the public administration of the Canary Islands and other members of Red Eléctrica.
Flywheels are rotating devices that convert electrical energy into kinetic energy and vice versa, to store it and later return it to the grid as electricity when the system requires it.
This project seeks to study and analyse the typical characteristics of this limited energy storage system through the use of the flywheel, as well as its possible future applications and benefits for both small systems and those which are larger.
The flywheel system installed in the 66 kV Mácher substation, which was put into operation in the month of August, can inject into or absorb from the grid a maximum power of 1.65 megawatts (MW) for about 12 seconds and provides a total of about 18 megawatts per second (MWs) of electricity.
Similarly, the flywheel system will also help mitigate the effects of sudden changes in system frequency within pre-established parameters (in Spain, around 50 Hz), giving it greater stability. In this type of small systems, it is important to maintain voltage and frequency stability as it reduces the response time in the event of failures in the power supply.
In the event of a situation where significant imbalances occur and grid frequency deviates from its reference value, generators and other equipment connected to the grid can suffer a significant decline in performance, even causing them to disconnect. Uncontrolled shutdown (of large generators) would increase the imbalance in the grid, increasing the risk of instability and, in the worst case scenarios, causing power supply failures.
As it is an R&D+i, the flywheel that Red Eléctrica installed on Lanzarote aims to study the behaviour of this type of technology for its future application in transmission grids. Red Eléctrica has already carried out the first tests with satisfactory results.
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