By Prasanna Punchihewa – Energy Sector Lead, Tonkin + Taylor

Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) are rapidly transforming the global energy landscape. By storing excess energy from renewable sources like solar and wind, a BESS can help to address the intermittency of these sources and ensure a reliable supply of clean energy. This is essential for meeting the world’s growing energy needs without contributing to climate change.

Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) are a critical component of the global transition to a clean energy future. They have been one of the most exciting developments of the last decade, supporting the advancement of utility-scale solar while helping to protect the stability of the electricity grid.

However, BESS installations also pose unique engineering challenges. As more BESS installations take place, engineers are able to learn more about the specific conditions that provide an optimum operating environment for these systems.

By incorporating these learnings into BESS design, engineers can play a vital role in ensuring that installations are safe, reliable, and efficient. This will help to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy and support the transition to a sustainable energy future.

Geotechnical engineering

One of the most critical factors in BESS development is geotechnical engineering, due to the significant weight of BESS units.

Geotechnical engineering firms conduct thorough investigations on BESS sites to ensure they will provide a solid foundation. This is crucial to support the weight and infrastructure of the system, preventing subsidence or structural issues over time.

Thermal and electrical resistivity testing

Batteries generate heat during charge and discharge cycles. Excessive heat can compromise safety and efficiency. Thermal resistivity testing assesses materials’ ability to manage heat, aiding in the design of effective cooling and insulation systems. Simultaneously, electrical resistivity testing evaluates the electrical conductivity of materials to ensure safe and efficient electrical pathways within the BESS.

Hydraulic and flood modelling

To safeguard BESS installations from potential flooding events, hydraulic modelling and flood modelling are essential. These simulations, together with topographic surveys, provide critical data to determine the optimal location and elevation for a BESS facility.

By analysing past flood events and modelling potential scenarios  , engineers can design flood-resistant infrastructure that ensures continuous operation even in adverse conditions.

The role of engineers

BESS installations are central to the global renewable energy transition, balancing the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources and providing a steady source of electricity to the grid.

To ensure their reliability and safety, a holistic approach is necessary, encompassing geotechnical engineering, thermal and electrical resistivity testing, hydraulic modelling, and flood modelling. Many engineering firms, including those with a proven track record like Tonkin + Taylor, have contributed to recent advancements in this field.

As BESS installations become more common, engineers from different fields will work together to continually improve them and pave the way for a clean energy future.

By addressing the unique engineering challenges and considerations involved in BESS development, engineers can play a vital role in ensuring  that BESS installations are safe, reliable, and efficient. This will help to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy and support the transition to a clean and sustainable energy future.

This sponsored editorial is brought to you by Tonkin + Taylor.

Interested in ensuring the success of your BESS project with expert guidance? Tonkin + Taylor can assist you in navigating the complexities of energy storage solutions. Visit or call +61 3 9863 8686.

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