Exploring battery storage to enable New Zealand’s energy future

09 July 2019

A new report has found the widespread uptake of distributed battery energy storage systems (BESS) in New Zealand could play an important role in supporting the power system as solar PV and electric vehicles are increasingly adopted.

Transpower’s Distributed Battery Energy Storage Systems in New Zealand examines the operational impact on the power system of the widespread uptake of these systems in homes and businesses in conjunction with the large-scale uptake of rooftop solar PV generation and electric vehicle (EV) charging. The report identifies what is required to enable a successful integration and ensure a reliable fit-for-purpose power system.

“Our recent publication Te Mauri Hiko and related thought pieces aim to inform the debate on how, through electrification, we can meet our goals to limit climate change,” Transpower General Manager Operations John Clarke said.

“Advances in battery technology are expected to play an important role in achieving that outcome.”

The report found that widespread distributed BESS across New Zealand could play a significant role in helping to mitigate some of the impacts on the grid due to large-scale uptake of rooftop solar PV generation and EVs.

Mr Clarke said its findings highlighted the importance of developing the proper standards, codes and market arrangements to ensure the potential benefits are realised, by tapping into the full capabilities of these distributed battery energy storage systems.

“Hypothetically, the charging of 2 million EVs in New Zealand at the end of the working day, without any incentive to defer charging to later in the evening, would add 25 per cent to today’s winter evening peak demand.”

“The potential addition to the mix of significant EV charging requirements reinforces the need for market signals that enable coordination including from BESS installed in homes. This will manage the impacts of power flow across the grid and avoiding the need for costly network investment.”

“In achieving this outcome, we’ll avoid the consequences of poorly managed integration seen in other power systems globally,” Mr Clarke said.

A large-scale distribution of BESS could help manage power system under-frequency events and replace the system inertia lost when large conventional generators are displaced off the power system. 

The study also found BESS could also assist, but not fully resolve, system voltage management issues created by solar PV injecting into the grid, especially in the middle of the day.

“We’ll do further work on regional voltage impacts with different assumptions on BESS and include the impact of EV charging in these studies,” Mr Clarke said.

“In enabling New Zealand’s energy future, in our role as system operator, Transpower will continue to explore the benefits and challenges in aiding this transformation, through our proactive studies of impacts on power system dynamics.”



For further information, please contact:

Patrick O’Meara, Senior Corporate Communications Advisor on 021 517 029