Gov’t invests in energy storage system

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Gov’t invests in energy storage system

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The Ministry of Knowledge Economy said Monday that it would to invest 300 billion won ($279 million) to create an efficient energy storage system (ESS) to fight blackout threats triggered by sudden surges in electricity consumption during periods of high and low temperatures.

Starting next year, the ministry will focus on the creation of a medium- to large-sized power storage system for the next five years to provide stable energy supply.

“An energy storage system is the core technology in structuring a future energy system,” said Chung Yang-ho, director general of the ministry’s energy and climate change policy division.

“This project to disperse energy supply and demand is crucial for Korea to take the initiative in the future ESS market.”

The practicality of a plan to create an “electricity reservoir” has been studied since April by the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Evaluation and Planning, and recently received the green light.

The plan will be divided into two projects. One is to pressurize air with spare power and store it underground. The compression of air generates heat that can later be used to generate electricity.

This storage system will be able to store pressurized air that can provide around 100 megawatts per hour for up to six hours and the air will be ready to be accessed within 10 minutes. The system is scheduled to be installed in Gunsan, North Jeolla.

Another project will focus on optimizing lithium ion batteries so that they can be used to store sporadically generated power from renewable energy sources.

“It is important to connect electricity produced from solar or wind sources on the power grid so that renewable energy sources can supply stable output,” the ministry said in a release.

The test bed for the batteries will be installed in Seogochang, North Jeolla, as a wind power generation complex is scheduled to be built nearby. The test bed will be able to store up to 2.5 gigawatts, which is equivalent to the electricity needed to charge 4.5 million smartphones, according to the ministry. The government expects this project to provide momentum for local battery makers.


By Lee Sun-min [summerlee@joongang.co.kr]

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