From now on, no more problems at peak loading:
peak shaving and UPS functionality in one

Read on to find out how a BENNING energy storage system has provided technical and financial security for a major automotive supplier

Truck with BENNING logo
The UPS energy storage system was installed in two system containers and delivered by HGV as a turnkey solution

Why content yourself with just one advantage when you can have two of them?

This was clearly the view taken by an international automotive supplier – having several sites in Germany – when it decided to opt for BENNING’s hybrid UPS energy storage system: “ENERTRONIC modular storage system”. After all, this is how the Company obtained more than just a powerful UPS: rather, it was first and foremost a valuable tool for effective peak load management, with all of the associated positive benefits.

The whole debate concerning electricity prices to industry hinges on the fact that “end users who make particularly intensive use of the grid” (mostly companies with high energy consumption) are already enjoying special conditions at the present time. Under §19, para. 2, StromNEV (= German electricity network levy regulation), companies whose annual consumption comes to at least 7000 operating hours and 10 GW are able to negotiate their own specific grid charge.*1

So that these “intensive grid users” do not jeopardise the related concessions, they are prohibited from causing any load on the grid as the means of avoiding falling short of the figure of 7000 hours. In the past, this could sometimes cause a situation where major consumers suffered unscheduled shutdowns whilst their production operations were ongoing. Counterintuitively, though, this procedure has a repercussion on complicated manufacturing processes which are designed for the maximum of productivity and efficiency – and which presuppose an uninterrupted flow of operations. This is a set of circumstances which makes it increasingly difficult to intervene in the interests of avoiding peak electrical loads – and which comprises major economic risks.

Load smoothing from the energy store

This is a challenge which the automotive supplier had already succeeded in resolving, a couple of years back, using a BENNING solution – the ENERTRONIC modular UPS storage system – at one of its sites. Since then it has come to represent a reference project.

The system can be configured individually and combines the energy store, a UPS system and an EMS (Energy Management System). It has beneficial effects when it comes to efficiency, operating costs and reliability of supply. After all, it enables a totally different response to short-term loading peaks, namely: the injection of additional energy from the UPS energy store, and this can aptly be characterised as classic peak shaving. This approach makes it possible to save production plant from suffering unscheduled switch-offs.

The overall result provides for enhanced productivity, improved product quality and less wear & tear on plant.

ENERTRONIC modular storage cabinet and 19" rack in detail
ENERTRONIC modular Storage
ENERTRONIC modular storage cabinets in containers
ENERTRONIC modular storage as installed in containers

Benchmark: a threefold improvement in the capacity for absorbing overloads

Taking account of experience to date, and the combination of other positive characteristics, it made sense (in 2022) for a further works belonging to the same group – based in a location in Brandenburg, which has a rich industrial tradition – to enquire about the possibility of having a UPS EMS (Energy Management System) modular storage system installed by BENNING.

A turnkey product in system containers

The initial requirement – in the same way as in the above-mentioned reference project – was to integrate the system into the existing energy infrastructure. Initial studies worked on the assumption that it would be possible to install the system in the existing premises. But it became clear, in the course of further planning, that it was not possible to accommodate a modular system – comprising the output required in this application and in this storage capacity – without considerable additional expense concerning the existing building. The most cost-effective alternative appeared to be to supply the installation in system containers – a solution which has been applied with no problems at the Brandenburg site, thanks to the existing outdoor space available, the excellent installation conditions and the benefit of shorter cable distances. The adopted turnkey solution, which was housed in two containers – one measuring 20 feet long and the other measuring 40 feet long – combines the advantage of a compact, safe and cost-effective means of accommodating all of the system components together with straightforward future expansion options (pay as you grow) thanks to planned-in reserves.

Stored energy is a source of safety

From the outset, the planning work assumed that PV (photovoltaic) power, together with the UPS function, would be utilised. UPS operation in particular is a source of safety in terms of energy. It offers a diversity of options which are exceptionally important in the event of a prolonged grid failure. Such options include the provision of reliability for communications and safety media, crucial IT areas, process control and emergency lighting in the production areas. And there is the option – in conjunction with a PV system – of setting up an independent island grid as an additional, permanently available safety measure.

ENERTRONIC modular storage 19” rack
ENERTRONIC modular storage system: 19” rack

The 40-foot container is hoisted into position

The 7000-hour rule: advantages – but with a catch

In order to be able to exploit the advantage of a “special individual grid charge”, the operating hours figure – i.e. the quotient obtained from calculating annual energy consumption (> 10 GW hours) and the maximum load peak arising within the integral period of 15 minutes – has to be in excess of 7000 hours. This rule has to be fulfilled as the prerequisite for enabling energy-intensive industry to claim the considerable reduction in grid costs up to a maximum of 20% of the regular rate. Due to process considerations, however, the course of production may give rise to loading peaks entailing a quotient coming to less than the 7000-hours figure. In that event, it would not be possible to claim reimbursement of the network charge for the whole year. In other words, the functions expected of the UPS storage system include its having to cap these peak loads, i.e. it has to guarantee “peak shaving”.

It pays to have a good reputation

BENNING’s first hybrid UPS energy storage system had made such a good name for itself in the automotive supplier’s group that the decision to opt for BENNING – when the question of investment in an energy storage system for the site at Brandenburg was discussed around the table – was clearly a logical step to take. Accordingly, the positive experience gained in the reference project with regard to the system’s quality and versatility – together with the expertise, depth of advisory capability and of support for planning from BENNING’s engineering, sales & service team – played a major part in the decision.

For decades, now, BENNING has also acquired the reputation of being a can-do, reliable partner for industrial electrical power systems. It was particularly important for the client – specifically in these times of disruption to supply chains, not to mention political tensions – to have a partner which could deal professionally with these challenges but without jeopardising quality and the ability to deliver.

Monitoring und Control Unit (MCU)
The MCU (monitoring & control unit), with its diversity of supported protocols and interfaces, makes it possible to connect the system to the EMSs developed by the widest range of software manufacturers. The system controller (MCU 3000) integrated into the power supply system cabinet door comes with a 10.4” touchscreen.

Benchmark: a threefold improvement in the capacity to absorb overloads

What BENNING had achieved was to produce a comprehensive, detailed concept based on the stipulated benchmark parameters. It included the electrical system components, integration into containers, the installation of the containers themselves and their connection to the low-voltage infrastructure and the client’s own EMS (Energy Management System).

Simultaneous UPS and energy storage operation, the threefold benefit in overload capability (short-circuit capacity) in the power output and electronics, the battery system with discharge rates in excess of 3C and more than 10 000 full cycles: these are some of the prominent features in terms of the benchmarking of industrial hybrid UPS/energy storage systems. The system also features a wide range of UPS and storage applications offering the following benefits consistent with the requirement for economic, flexible operation: in addition to peak shaving and the provision of primary control power, it is possible to store energy from alternative sources (e.g. photovoltaic energy, wind power) with the result of minimising the costs of procuring energy. Furthermore, the storage system can supply rapid charging power for electric vehicles and – in the event of a blackout – provide crucial loads with grid-independent, reliable supplies of power thanks to the integrated, fully active UPS function.

The overall concept that had been developed by BENNING’s team was rounded off with a detailed timeframe and cost plan. The proposal they came up with fulfilled every client requirement, providing the automotive supplier with cost-effective peak shaving combined with UPS functionality at the highest level. Once the order had been issued, the product was delivered on the basis of division into three batches, with commissioning planned for March 2023.

Finally, factors that were crucial to the investment decision were: manufacture locally in Germany; unparalleled quality; a long service life for the product; and the exceptionally long life-cycle support together with the cost-benefit analysis calculated by the client.

In this context, the financial benefits from the investment were compared with the costs and the availability of the hybrid UPS energy storage system. The findings achieved included the advantages resulting from a modular system architecture: comprising straightforward redundancy structuring, flexible expansion options and the multifunctional design. These were the factors which prompted the purchase decision.

ENERTRONIC modular storage: peak shaving and UPS functionality in one

Several industrial robots in a production hall

20-foot container for power electronics, equipped with:

  • Raised floors including the mounting frame for the power electronics
  • 4 x 200 kVA (UPS) ENERTRONIC modular storage inverter cabinets
  • AC supply connection panels with supply connection protection corresponding to AR-N 4105 / 4110
  • AC UPS consumer distribution (on safe bars)
  • Air-conditioning systems
  • Pressure relief valves

40-foot container for the lithium battery system, complete with:

  • Base frame for battery cabinets together with reserve space for future expansions
  • 16 battery cabinets each with 50 kWh capacity
  • DC battery connection fields with battery controllers
  • AC auxiliary distribution (on safe bars)
  • Air-conditioning systems
  • Pressure relief valves

Smart solutions to meet the energy transition

This project is further proof that now – and in the future – BENNING develops innovative, sustainable products that meet the challenges of the energy transition and the associated market requirements. We’re referring primarily to the products in themselves: for example, the ENERTRONIC modular storage unit which many companies utilise purely as a UPS system and which had already been developed on the basis of a dedicated VFI-SS-111 UPS. This can be upgraded to a hybrid UPS energy storage system.

And the same applies – on the other hand – to the incorporation of regenerative energy sources. Here, particular attention is paid to grid-independent island solutions (power island) which can supply electrical power in conjunction with photovoltaic sources needing practically no external grid connection. This component is essential for any companies requiring not only storage-supported operation for the optimisation of energy costs (or grid stabilisation) but also a reliable supply of power: free of interruption and available to cover an extended blackout period.

Further Information

author/contact: Ronald Metzig
telephone: +49 172 2859286

*1 Source:

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