S. Korea to launch trial operations of backup ESS for renewables in Jeju

2023.01.19 11:22:01 | 2023.03.03 14:27:01

ESS for frequency regulation operated by KEPCO to deal with volatile frequency from power setback. [Source : KEPCO]이미지 확대

ESS for frequency regulation operated by KEPCO to deal with volatile frequency from power setback. [Source : KEPCO]

The South Korean government will invest 45 trillion won ($36.6 billion) by 2036 to expand the large-scale energy storage system (ESS) market in an effort to reduce intermittency of renewable energy resources such as solar and wind power and enhance stability in the country’s power supply.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on Wednesday that it is coming up with measures to establish a market for ESS to back up renewable energy sources. It will pick a business operator among private and public power generation companies and launch trial operations in Jeju in the second half of this year.

The ministry plans to add more regions where renewable energy sources are clustered.

The ministry will invest to create an ESS with a total capacity of 26 gigawatts (GW) that will be used to back up power.

Currently, there are two types of ESSs - one for frequency regulation and another for connection with renewable energy. The former is operated by Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) to deal with volatile frequency from power setback. The latter is managed by power generation companies to improve profitability.

The market for ESS for backup use will involve an operator under KEPCO guideline charging the storage and selling power to KEPCO. It will be a large-scale ESS and will run based on a quarterly portfolio.

“ESS backup system is a must in addressing power output control issues that arise with the expansion of renewable energy,” said Kang Seung-jin, professor of energy at the Tech University of Korea.

According to Korea Energy Economics Institute, the market potential for renewable energy is largest in Korea’s southeastern region with a capacity of 218,484 GW, followed by the central region and southwestern region. The potential capacity in Seoul and surrounding areas that has the largest electricity demand is only 57,605 GW.

By Song Gwang-sup, Lee Jin-han and Choi Jieun

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