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Barcelona — Enel's Spanish subsidiary Endesa's 20 MW battery storage project, which is sited within the Carboneras coal plant in Spain, is due to start commissioning this month, with Enel intending to roll out the new battery storage technology to other coal-fired plants.

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The experience the company is gaining from this initial project will aid the development, design, procurement and construction phases, as well as operation of subsequent projects, the company said Monday.

Enel, which operates 6.3 GW of coal-fired plants in Italy and 5.2 GW in Spain, is already making strides, with a similar project at its 2 GW Torrevaldaliga Nord, Civitavecchia plant in Italy, where it is installing a 10 MW battery unit.

The Torrevaldaliga Nord project received approval from the Italian Economic Development Ministry in the fourth quarter last year and could come online either at the end of this year or the start of the next, according to Italian press, although Enel declined to confirm the likely start date.

However, the company did say it was "exploring ways to build more capacity should the evolution of the regulatory framework allow us to do so."

These particular battery projects are designed to improve the operational performance of the thermal plants. In particular, the battery supports the power plant in providing ancillary services with a faster response time, according to the company.

By being coupled with the existing infrastructure at the sites, they can also achieve significant financial and operational synergies.

At present, the unit participates in primary frequency regulation by modulating the energy generated and feeding it into the grid.

They will accumulate energy during lower demand hours and act as "generators" supplying "instantly" into the grid the energy they have accumulated.

When applied to a thermal plant, this means that its ability to respond to variations in the network will be optimized -- a service that is presently remunerated by Italian grid operator Terna.

This will increase the available capacity for use on the ancilary market (MSD), reduced response and action times and an increased gradient of response to balancing orders as well as a reduction in errors in supply.

The coal-fired plant at Carboneras, completed in 1985, was initially designed to work as a generator of baseload electricity. With the new battery system, the plant will be better equipped to cope with the increased footprint of intermittent renewables, particularly wind, in the region.

Enel's goal is to optimize the revenue streams which -- depending on the local market and regulatory conditions -- could include a range of services, among which frequency regulation and voltage services, the company said.

--Gianluca Baratti,
--Edited by James Leech,