Wärtsilä to provide Colbun with an energy storage system

Wärtsilä, a technology company, will offer an 8 MW/32 MWh energy storage system to Colbun, one of Chile’s leading power production businesses, in order to expedite the country’s transition to renewable energy as it strives for carbon neutrality by 2050. This is Wärtsilä’s first South American energy storage project. The order was entered into Wärtsilä order intake in 3Q21, and the system is planned to go live in 4Q22. Wärtsilä will provide the energy storage system through engineering and equipment delivery (EEQ).

The Wärtsilä energy storage system will be placed beside Colbun’s 230 MWp Diego de Almagro solar photovoltaic (PV) complex in the Atacama region, which is well-known for its sun radiation. This will be Colbun’s first energy storage portfolio system, allowing the power production firm to incorporate extra renewable energy capacity in order to reach net zero emissions. The energy storage technology will also help Colbun manage transmission system restrictions from the new solar project proactively, allowing the firm to shift excess energy output from day to night to prevent curtailment, which will increase profits. Furthermore, the system would provide frequency responsiveness and solid capacity to provide sufficient energy supply during peak hours. It is expected that 80 000 homes would profit from the system once it is operational.

“Intermittency is one of the current issues of wind and solar generating.” However, by combining electrical storage options, such as the energy storage project linked with our Diego de Almagro solar facility, we can compensate for generation changes while capturing the full value of renewable sources. “By adding energy storage, Colbun hopes to strengthen the Chilean national electrical grid,” stated Christoph Perathoner, Colbun’s Construction Manager. “We are excited to be partnering with Wärtsilä, a world-class firm with vast international expertise in energy storage technology.”

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According to Wärtsilä’s 2021 study, ‘Front-Loading Net Zero,’ attaining a carbon-neutral power system in Chile before 2050 is conceivable with the expansion of renewable energy and short- and long-term energy storage. As Chilean coal-fired power stations are phased out by 2040 and additional renewable energy generation is integrated, battery storage devices will play an important role in daily shifting of solar energy and providing ancillary services that ensure grid resilience.

“Chile has emerged as a renewable energy champion, with one of the most ambitious and cost-effective decarbonization strategies in the world,” said Andrew Tang, Vice President of Energy Storage and Optimisation at Wärtsilä. “We are thrilled to enter the Chilean market to aid Colbun and others in capitalizing on the possibility to realize a 100% carbon-neutral energy system with industry-leading energy storage technology within the next few decades.”

Wärtsilä’s GridSolv Quantum, a fully integrated, modular, and small energy storage system, as well as the GEMS Digital Energy Platform, will be installed at the Diego de Almagro storage facility. GEMS, Wärtsilä’s energy management system, will optimize the use of both the energy storage system and the solar PV project. GEMS identifies the most cost-effective times to dispatch energy to and from the energy storage system using machine learning and data analytics, improving the value of both assets.