Can Storage Expand Wind’s Share of the Energy Mix?

Leading wind turbine manufacturer Vestas is looking toward energy storage solutions in a bid to improve wind power economics and grid integration.

“Vestas considers the combination of wind with storage as an enabler in lowering the levelized cost of energy (LCOE), improving project returns and expanding wind’s share of the energy mix further,” Jorge Magalhaes, senior vice president, power solutions, Vestas Wind Systems, told Renewable Energy World. “In that regard, our experience in system controls and grid integration gives us a strong foundation to optimize the combined output of a wind park.”

According to Magalhaes, the company’s goal is to “build know-how” in order to offer optimized turnkey solutions for technology-agnostic integration of energy storage or solar to wind turbine generators.

Although batteries are the first technology to come to mind in considering stationary storage coupled with renewables—a model Vestas refers to as hybrid solutions—Vestas says it’s retaining an open-minded position with regard to selection of storage technologies.

“Vestas is involved in a number of hybrid solutions with the aim to explore if and how hybrid solutions can increase the capacity factor and/or annual energy production, reduce CAPEX and/or OPEX, and help fulfil grid requirements,” Magalhaes said.

For operators of renewables, numerous compelling solutions are emerging from leveraging the benefits of storage, with many examples already on display in the field. Such opportunities include:

  • Power output smoothing
  • Capacity firming
  • Access to new revenues via provision of ancillary services
  • Arbitrage functionality

Magalhaes said that benefits of hybrid solutions could potentially reduce LCOE, open new markets for wind power, and facilitate the transition to a more sustainable energy mix.

“The right combination is market and project specific,” he said.

Across the broader energy industry, the prevailing direction for energy storage presently favors lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries; a technology combining well-rounded performance with increasingly favorable economics (the latter in large part due to the rapid emergence of Li-ion powered electric vehicles).

Since 2012, Vestas has operated two Li-ion battery systems connected to its 12-MW Lem Kær wind plant in western Denmark.

Magalhaes said that the project continues to run and is connected to the Danish transmission grid. The company, he added, receives valuable input from the project in the areas of grid connection and management of the wind and storage resources.

“Pilot project learnings will help us to continue to optimize offerings with our partners so that these tailored solutions become ever more commercially viable,” he said.

While Vestas isn’t alone in eyeing opportunities of hybrid storage solutions, most projects to date stem from developers and not OEMs.

Ørsted (previously Dong Energy) plans to install a 2-MW battery system alongside the 90-MW Burbo Bank offshore wind farm in the U.K., while U.S.-based Deepwater Wind announced plans for ‘Revolution Wind’—a 40-MWh battery energy storage system delivered by Tesla to join its 144-MW offshore wind farm. Deepwater Wind Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Grybowskib said in a statement that “people may be surprised by just how affordable and reliable this clean energy combo will be.”

An even larger, and more dramatic, project is currently unfolding in south Australia where Tesla is installing a 100-MW/129-MWh Powerpack system alongside Neoen’s Hornsdale Wind Farm near Jamestown.

Lead image credit: Vestas

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William is a freelance reporter covering the development and happenings of renewable energy industries in Scandinavia. In addition to renewables, he blogs about various other fields of technology and science at .

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