Gamesa Electric at La Plana Hybrid Pilot Plant

As renewable technology is becoming cheaper and cheaper, it is increasing greatly its penetration in the electrical systems of the countries. Hence it is key to try to reduce the intermittency/variability of these renewable energy sources.

Hybrid projects that combine wind energy, photovoltaic solar energy and/or other renewable energy sources with energy storage are becoming an increasingly attractive option to continue the development of renewable energies.

As one of the pioneers in this field, Siemens Gamesa owns a testing plant located in La Plana, near Zaragoza (Spain). A WTG (850kW), a solar PV plant (245kWp), 3 diesel gensets (3 x 222kW) and two different battery technologies (Li-Ion, 435kW / 145kWh and Redox-Flow 120kW, 400kWh) are combined with variable loads to emulate/test customer load data sets on an adequate scale in a real plant.

The Siemens Gamesa controller coordinates the generation of all power sources and minimizes the levelized energy cost (LCoE) of the plant, regardless of whether the system is isolated from the network or grid connected. To reduce energy costs, the controller aims to achieve maximum integration of renewable energy. Besides, the system tries to keep the diesel generators at their minimum technical level in off-grid situations, maximizing the energy from renewable energies even when the periods of low wind and cloudy sky occur at the same time.

Gamesa Electric has collaborated on this project as a key player, supplying all the power electronics of the hybrid plant such as converter, generator and control cabinets of the WTG, the inverter of the PV plant and the bi-directional inverters (PCS or battery chargers) of both the Li-Ion and the Redox-flow battery. Besides, we have developed and validated the communication protocols of these elements with the Siemens Gamesa Power Plant Controller. By modifying our bi-directional inverters for energy storage, we are able to provide “black start” and “grid forming” capabilities. This allows us to enable the ZDO (Zero Diesel Operation) mode, being able to both generate the electrical grid without the participation of the diesel gensets, and reconnecting the plant to the grid after a black-out.

The solutions and technologies developed by Gamesa Electric on this pilot plant will enable Siemens Gamesa to provide the best solutions in hybrid systems to our customers. The applications are many: from firming or ramp rate control to provide a more stable renewable energy production, as well as for arbitrage or energy shifting applications to displace the demand/production curve so that our customers are able to maximize their revenues, storing energy during renewable curtailment or at low energy price hours and discharging the batteries during high energy price hours. It will also be used for stand-alone BESS (battery energy storage systems) which will be able to be allocated at electric nodes to provide ancillary services, such as frequency regulation, capacity reserve or peak load management, among others.

This way we are able to respond today to our customer’s needs of the future.