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NHOA’s new 311MWh BESS in Taiwan ‘designed specifically for new E-dReg ancillary service’

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New HOrizons Ahead (NHOA) has completed work on a large-scale battery energy storage system (BESS) in Taiwan, designed specifically for a new ancillary service opportunity.

The Italy-headquartered energy storage system integrator and electric mobility solutions company announced earlier this week (5 December) that the 311MWh project has been successfully commissioned at the site of HePing industrial plant in Hualien County, Taiwan.

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NHOA claimed it is the biggest operational battery storage facility on the island to date. Taiwan has been seeing growth in its energy storage market since the introduction of auctions for procurement of frequency regulation ancillary services by grid operator TaiPower in 2020.

HePing is an industrial facility of NHOA’s parent company, Taiwan Cement Corporation (TCC). TCC bought a majority stake in NHOA from European utility group Engie, adding to a company portfolio that also includes Molicell, a Taiwan-based lithium battery manufacturer.  

Last year, TCC chairman Nelson Chang gave a speech in which he described batteries as “key to the future of energy,” and noted Taiwan would need about 9GW of energy storage – equivalent to 20% of Taiwan’s 2030 renewable energy target – to integrate the new clean energy capacity on the grid.

As a home of high tech manufacturing and an island grid, the need for grid-balancing is acute, leading Taipower to establish its first frequency regulation auctions, for automatic frequency control (AFC), in 2020.

That brought in numerous market entrants including system integrators with presence in US and European markets such as Powin, Fluence, Tesla and Wartsila, while Anglo-American flow battery provider Invinity Energy Systems recently inked a partnership to put systems into the market.

TCC actually laid claim to delivering the first grid-connected BESS asset to participate in AFC, with a system at its Changhua Coastal Industrial Park that went online in April 2021. At that time, the initial AFC auction had been for just 15MW, and with a 5MW win, TCC was the only bidder to be selected using battery cells made in Taiwan.

Since then, TCC has ordered a total of 442MWh of BESS from its new subsidiary NHOA, including the 311MWh asset at HePing, to address growing ancillary service market opportunities as well as other value streams.  

Enhanced Dynamic Regulation: 2.5-hour dispatch, 50% capacity

“In response to recent blackouts and the government’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050, Taiwan has seen a significant surge in energy storage system deployments,” a spokesperson for NHOA told Energy-Storage.news.

The spokesperson told Energy-Storage.news that the HePing BESS has been designed specifically for TaiPower’s Enhanced Dynamic Regulation (E-dReg) market, which the grid operator launched last year.

Two key features of E-dReg stand out from the energy storage asset developer or operator perspective: it requires systems of a minimum 5MW, with 2.5-hour or more duration (12.5MWh); and it requires only 50% of a system’s capacity to be available, meaning that projects installed at industrial or commercial facilities such as HePing can also perform other services such as behind-the-meter peak shaving of onsite electricity consumption. (See here for a brief but handy explainer of E-dReg, by research firm InfoLink.)

“Notably, NHOA Energy’s system, installed in the HePing industrial plant, is the largest in Taiwan and has been specifically designed to meet the national demands of the E-dReg (Enhanced Dynamic Regulation) service, requiring a minimum of 2.5 hours of dispatch capability,” the spokesperson said.

NHOA providing a complete battery storage solution including the company’s own proprietary power conversion system (PCS), inverter controls, power plant controller (PPC) and energy management system (EMS).

In its most recent financial results, the company said it had brought 535MWh of cumulative BESS capacity into operation as of the end of Q3 2023, a big jump from 111MWh at the same time last year. Executives guided that NHOA should hit EBITDA breakeven during 2023 and meet revenue targets.

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