China Calls on A123 to Aid Wind Integration

China’s third-largest wind turbine manufacturer is evaluating battery storage devices to help the country meet its goal of adding 170 GW of wind power by 2020.

Rapid installation of wind farms has been met with unique challenges to manage a significant load of intermittent electricity. Nearly 30 percent of China’s wind farms are off-line while the country’s grid operators develop an approach for regulating frequency.

Waltham, Mass.-based A123 Systems recently filled an order to supply Dongfang Electric Corp. (DEC) with an advanced energy storage device. The 500-KW lithium ion battery system will be installed at the company’s factory in Hangzhou City, China, by the end of this year. A123 Systems says the demonstration system will help the turbine manufacturer research technologies for smoothing and integrating wind power with the grid.

“Part of the problem is an inability to deal with zero voltage, so drop offs are suddenly causing disruptions to the grid,” said Chris Campbell, vice president of marketing and business development for A123’s Energy Solutions Group.

A123’s system will target algorithms to improve ramp management, Campbell said.

Nearly 30 percent of China’s wind power generating capacity is not connected to the grid due to unacceptable Low Voltage Ride Through (LVRT) when grid voltage declines, A123 said.

The order is A123’s first energy storage system in China.

 “We believe that China represents a significant market opportunity for our advanced energy storage technology,” said Robert Johnson, vice president of the Energy Solutions Group at A123.

The company, founded in 2001 with technology developed at MIT, has installed 12-MW and 20-MW systems for power generators in Chile. It is developing a 32-MW system for a wind farm in West Virginia.

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Robert Crowe is a technical writer and reporter based in San Antonio, Texas. He has written for Bloomberg, the Houston Chronicle, Boston Herald,, San Antonio Express-News, Dallas Business Journal, and other publications. He covers renewable energy and sustainability for various publications. As a consultant, he works closely with companies to develop technical materials for renewable energy and sustainability strategies.

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