Southeast Asia is leading in deploying floating energy storage systems. The unique challenges in land scarcity have made this type of energy storage very attractive to power producers in this region. In the Philippines, floating energy storage systems (ESS) on barges are helping power operators achieve grid stability. Singapore’s Energy Market Authority also says that the first floating ESS will be operational in the next two or three years. These systems will play a crucial role in power supply in the Southeast Asia region.
What are Floating Energy Storage Systems?
Where do you place energy storage systems when there is not enough land but plenty of marine square acreage? The sea becomes a viable holder for your energy storage systems. Floating energy storage system is placed on the water bodies, with the open sea providing plenty of space for scaling up.
A floating energy storage system consists of an industrial battery pack that holds power generated from either renewable or non-renewable resources. The industrial battery packs are made from high-capacity batteries. The capacity can be as high as 54-MW/32-MWh.
Floating ESS are held on marine vessels that are movable to wherever power is needed. Most of the Floating ESS in operation today are on barges. They are operated by power producers who feed the power distributors on the mainland.
Floating energy storage solutions are useful in supplementing power on the main grids. Floating ESS is crucial in stabilizing power grids during peak power demand periods. They can be quickly brought online and scaled up when necessary.
Solar-powered energy storage solutions hold a lot of promise in Southeast Asia because the region experiences plenty of sunshine. There is also a push to switch to clean energy. Singapore has identified solar power as one of the four switches it needs to turn on in the energy industry by 2030.
Wind power is also an attractive power source on the open sea. The absence of wind barriers makes high power productions much more than can be had on land.
What Advantages Do Floating Energy Systems Offer?
Floating energy storage systems offer several advantages over land-based energy storage solutions:
Floating ESS does not need extensive grid development. The battery packs can be placed on retired vessels or used marine vessels. It also avoids the extraneous costs that come with grid development. There are no people to move or compensate.
Land is scarce in southeast Asian countries like Singapore. It restricts the development of large-scale power installments. Floating ESS overcomes this problem by taking the widely available space on the open sea. It brings the flexibility of developing operational energy storage solutions in different areas. A floating ESS can be located offshore the most crowded city and docked just like an ordinary vessel, then connected to the mainland to the main power grid when necessary.
This concept is highly attractive for Singapore, where space is at a premium. The Singapore Energy Markets Authority intends to develop a 7.5 MW/7.5MWh lithium-ion battery floating ESS by 2023. The Philippines, which faces the same land shortage, has successfully operationalized two power barges with a combined capacity of over 154 MW.
Floating ESS battery packs can be added quickly to ramp up power storage capacity. Marine vessels can be quickly configured to hold more battery packs. A power producer can also bring floating ESS online in a time as short as 12 months compared to the 12-24 months it takes to make a land-based power grid operational.
The possibility of moving a floating energy storage system from one area to another offers a significant advantage. It means the floating ESS can power different applications. They can develop it at one location and then move it to provide power to a remote industrial site.
It also makes floating ESS perfect for responding to emergencies near the shore. Southeast Asia has a history of experiencing disasters that disrupt the power supply, especially during typhoon season. A floating energy storage system can be moved to supply power to such areas while repairs to the main grid are going on.
Floating energy storage solutions will help to unlock the renewable energy potential that can come from the sea. The southeast Asian region sees plenty of sunshine hours which makes it ideal for tapping solar power. Solar panels can be laid on a wide space at a low cost. There are no structural considerations on the flat open sea.
Singapore plans to have 2GWh of solar power by 2030. Floating solar farms can easily provide a significant share of this clean energy at economical costs. Other Southeast Asia countries also have plans to adopt more clean energy to combat climate change.
Can Floating Energy Systems Provide Long-term Solutions?
Floating energy storage solutions have great promise for clean energy provision in southeast Asia. They can change the way people in the region access energy. Coupling floating ESS with marine solar and wind energy storage systems will also play a vital role in reducing dependency on non-renewable thermal energy.
There is faith in floating energy storage systems because power distributors in the region are adopting this energy storage system. The Philippines has a 100MW floating barge serving Maco municipality in the province of Davao de Oro. Another 54MW barge is coming operational in the next few months to boost the capacity. The whole system can switch on in three minutes.
Singapore plans to deploy a 7.5-MW/7.5-MWh lithium-ion battery floating ESS by the year 2023. It will be in a stack design to reduce its footprint. Thailand has built one of the biggest floating solar farms, with 144,000 solar panels covering over 300 acres. The solar farm will generate 45MW of power to inject into the national grid.
Floating energy storage systems are taking shape fast in Southeast Asia and the wider world. They will play a big role in the future provision of clean energy. They offer advantages that will encourage faster adoption and deployment in the region and the wider world.