New Global Microgrid Alliance

ABB and Samsung SDI are joining forces to develop microgrids globally.
Published: Tue 07 Apr 2015

Barely had the ink dried on our article on “microgrids-as-a-service” than another microgrid service was announced by ABB and Samsung SDI. [Engerati-Microgrids Now Available As A Service]

Global microgrid alliance

ABB and Samsung, which have worked on other projects together, have now signed a Memorandum of Understanding “to promote microgrid solutions globally.”

The two companies will establish a global commercial alliance to develop and market modular and scalable microgrid solutions, utilizing lithium-ion batteries for energy storage. ABB will provide the technologies for electrification, control optimization, stabilization and expert consulting services. Samsung SDI will provide the batteries and the battery management system.

“Microgrid applications are expanding rapidly, both in emerging and developed markets, and are a key growth area in ABB’s Next Level strategy,” said ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer. “This strategic alliance allows us to combine our complementary capabilities and will enable us to bring optimized solutions to our customers.”

According to a statement the alliance should enable accelerated growth of the market, and will make microgrid solutions a viable alternative to promote and broaden access to electricity in emerging markets and remote areas while providing power reliability, resiliency and security to developed markets.

“The alliance with ABB provides Samsung the basis to expand our global No. 1 position into the microgrids market,” added Namseong Cho, president and CEO of Samsung SDI. “Together with ABB we will make our utmost effort to develop new products and to pioneer new markets to keep on being the world’s best ESS company.”

AusNet’s GESS trial

A collaborative project that appears to be a forerunner of the new alliance is AusNet Services’ Grid Energy Storage System (GESS) trial. The trial, taking place in a Thomastown industrial estate in a northern suburb of Melbourne, aims to investigate battery support for the electricity grid during peak demand periods, typically during the afternoon on hot summer days.

The two-year trial was launched in December 2014 with technology provided by ABB Australia and Samsung SDI. Housed in four 20-foot shipping containers, the system comprises a 1MW-1MWh battery system and 1MW diesel generator. The battery system automatically provides local support into the 22kV grid at peak demand periods and recharging during low demand periods. The diesel generator serves as a secondary supply to extend supply for full coverage of the peak demand period. The system can also transition to island mode to provide power as part of a mini-grid when parts of the network become isolated.

Management of the system is via ABB’s new Microgrid Plus System, which was developed by the Microgrid Solutions team in Darwin.

The trial is a first in Australia and if successful, is likely to lead to wider deployment of the GESS by AusNet Services for peak demand management on its network.