Load Following/Ramping Support for Renewables

Load following is one of the ancillary services required to operate a stable electricity grid. Energy storage systems used in load following applications are used to supply (discharge) or absorb (charge) power to compensate for load variations. Therefore, this is a power balancing application. In general, the load variations should stay within certain limits for the rate of change, or ramp rate. Therefore, this application is a form of ramp rate control. The same holds for generation variations, which is very applicable to renewable energy sources. Due to the intermittency of renewables production, having a storage device with several hour durations can provide a large advantage to renewable efficiencies, easing of grid impacts, and renewable production. Conventional power generation can also operate with a load following (or RES compensating) application. Within these applications, the benefits of energy storage systems over conventional power generation are that: 

  1. Most systems can operate at partial load with relatively modest performance penalties
  2. Most systems can respond quickly with respect to a varying load
  3. Systems are suitable for both load following down (as the load decreases) and load following up (as the load increases) by either charging or discharging.