Nuclear power is emerging as an answer to fill the gap as several countries transition away from coal, oil and natural gas to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stave off the worst effects of climate change. Nevertheless, despite the increasing construction, self-regulation ability of nuclear power stations is generally poor, leading to numerous grid stability problems. Among them, peak regulation is considered the most prominent problem. For example, the peak load regulation of the Hainan power grid, one of the largest nuclear powers in China, is projected to reach up to 1550 MW.
One of the most feasible strategies for addressing this problem is developing highly efficient energy storage systems to improve power storage stability and flexibility. However, pumped power storage station often used to stabilize nuclear power cannot be used here and even in future due to its technical limitations and relatively high environmental footprint. Consequently, most traditional energy storage technologies have technical, environmental, and economic limitations that hinder their usage for stabilizing nuclear energy.
With the ongoing transformation in energy structure, battery energy storage technologies have emerged as a potential alternative for improving grid stability. This is mainly attributed to their remarkable performance in stabilizing power output and improving the operation efficiency of various power systems. Although the economic and technical feasibility of battery energy storage systems has been demonstrated in the literature, there are still numerous challenges associated with their large-scale application. There are no studies on the economic feasibility of joint operations between nuclear and battery storage stations for peak shaving. Besides, the existing life cycle cost models are not feasible for large-scale energy storage systems and have several constraints limiting their application for nuclear energy.
To overcome these shortcomings, Dr. Xiaojiao Chen and Dr. Liansheng Huang from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in collaboration with Dr. Junbo Liu, Professor Dongran Song and Professor Sheng Yang from Central South University, assessed the economic feasibility and peak shaving benefit of the joint operation of nuclear and battery energy storage power stations based on Hainan case study. A solution framework for determining the appropriate construction scale and type of battery to be used was proposed. The framework considered the comprehensive comparative economic benefit analysis of the joint operation under load limit factor and sensitivity analysis that further illustrated the feasibility of the joint operations. Their work is currently published in the journal, Energy.
The research team demonstrated the energy storage power station driven by 270 MW lithium iron phosphate battery produced the best stability and economic feasibility performance in terms of internal rate of return (IRR), levelized energy cost (LCOE) and pay back period (PBP), which were reportedly 16.27%, 0.464¥/kWh and 6.27 years, respectively. Compared with the commonly used pumped storage, the presented energy battery storage also required lower initial investment and smaller floor area while offering faster economic recovery. Additionally, the joint operation also enhanced nuclear power’s flexibility and operation safety. From the sensitivity analysis, it was worth noting that the application of large-scale battery energy storage is still dependent on the trade-off between the real-time electricity price and the cost performance of the battery.
In summary, this is the first study to analyze the economic feasibility and assess the peak shaving benefits of joint operation of battery energy storage and nuclear power stations. The proposed solution framework not only allowed effective determination of the most appropriate construction scale and battery type but also addressed other stability issues associated with such joint operations. In a statement to Advances in Engineering, the authors said that their findings provided valuable insights that would help address the stability problem of nuclear energy and other problems like frequency and reactive power regulating that are still faced by most power grids.
Chen, X., Huang, L., Liu, J., Song, D., & Yang, S. (2022). Peak shaving benefit assessment considering the joint operation of nuclear and battery energy storage power stations: Hainan case study. Energy, 239, 121897.