At the same time, it also allows the electric utility company to guarantee a completely secure electricity supply for the region. In the event of a utility grid failure, the SMA system technology will automatically switch to stand-alone mode. And it supplies 100 percent of its electricity from renewable energy.
The municipality of Bordesholm is located in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, between Kiel and Neumünster. The name means "at the shore of the island." Thanks to an SMA Energy System Large Scale, Bordesholm is living up to its name and is literally heading for new shores with a 15-megawatt storage system. The SMA storage system has a capacity of 15 megawatt hours and provides a primary control reserve, supplying electricity for direct selling and securing the electricity supply for the entire Bordesholm region in the event of grid failure.
With the Energy System Large Scale - a coordinated system solution featuring seven Sunny Central Storage battery inverters and an SMA Hybrid Controller XL - the public utility company Versorgungsbetriebe Bordesholm (VBB) is able to supply the European utility grid with critical balancing energy. The battery storage system is considered one of the most state-of-the-art balancing energy power plants in the world.
If there are sensitive frequency fluctuations in the utility grid, the SMA system supplies energy from the battery storage system within a fraction of a second. In this way, the electric utility company helps to ensure a stable utility frequency of exactly 50 Hertz - and participation in the primary control energy market opens up lucrative business opportunities.
However, the SMA Energy System Large Scale can do so much more. In the event of a power outage, it forms a stand-alone grid within a fraction of a second. In doing so, it continues to supply the connected loads with fully renewable energy from PV systems and biomass and CHP plants without any interruption.
In a research project at the end of 2019, the public utility company Versorgungsbetriebe Bordesholm and TH Köln, University of Applied Sciences in Germany, simulated a large-scale power outage. They disconnected Bordesholm from the European utility grid for one hour via the synchronous tie breaker. Best of all, the 8,000 residents of Bordesholm did not even notice it. All households, businesses and institutions were still supplied with electricity without any interruptions. It no longer came from the European utility grid but within the Bordesholm stand-alone grid - 100 percent from renewable energies. This is because the SMA Energy System Large Scale is so intelligent that it can establish its own stand-alone grid at European grid quality within a matter of seconds. The electricity comes from connected renewable energy generators, which are PV systems and biomass and CHP plants. The fiber-optic network KNÖV-NetT ensures stable and fast communication between the individual power generation plants, loads and the battery storage system.
Once the public utility grid is available again, the SMA Energy System Large Scale automatically resynchronises the stand-alone grid with the European grid and reconnects to it.
And the best thing is that, thanks to the black start function, the SMA battery inverter and SMA Hybrid Controller can automatically restart the grid within seconds using energy from the battery and renewable energy generators, even in the event of an unplanned power outage in the public utility grid. Once the public utility grid is available again, the municipality can synchronise back to it at any time using the SMA system.
Whether power outages are planned or unplanned - with the SMA Energy System Large Scale, the public utility company Versorgungsbetriebe Bordesholm is able to secure the power supply of the entire municipality 24/7. The Bordesholm stand-alone grid is proof that entire regions can provide for themselves using 100 percent renewable energies. Bordesholm is also a flagship now - for Germany, Europe, and the whole world.
Setting a milestone for the energy transition.
"With the SMA Energy System Large Scale, we are proving that it is possible to run a public electricity grid on fully renewable energy and maintain stable frequencies. In doing so, we have created a starting point for the development of largely self-sufficient electricity grids. On a larger scale, the world could one day have an energy supply that is not dependent whatsoever on fossil fuels or nuclear power."
Frank Günther, General Manager of Versorgungsbetriebe Bordesholm GmbH
"With SMA, we have a reliable and experienced German partner on our side. Together, we have written a piece of energy history. We are a pioneer in the energy transition to exclusive renewable energy sources."
Dr. Jörg Niedersberg, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Versorgungsbetriebe Bordesholm GmbH
In order to maintain the normal frequency of 50 hertz in the German utility grid at all times, the four German transmission grid operators have to balance out unforeseen fluctuations within seconds. The primary control reserve (PCR) helps them to do this. It must be available within 30 seconds to prevent a power outage.