Combining technologies in hybridized applications can offer great results. In the case of wind power, experts agree that the fusion of energy generation and storage has the paradigm-shifting potential to make wind energy increasingly attractive to power markets worldwide.
Some of the world’s largest offshore wind turbines stand at around 640 feet tall. Their blades extend 262 feet, and a single revolution can power a home for 29 hours. Thirty-two of these impressive machines were recently added to the Burbo Bank Offshore Wind Farm, a 348 MW generation plant located off of the west coast of the United Kingdom in the Irish Sea. The wind farm was developed in the 2000s by SeaScape Energy, which was acquired by Danish firm DONG Energy.
In July, DONG Energy integrated a 2 MW energy storage system, supplied by ABB, into the Burbo Bank project in an effort to help keep the UK grid’s frequency stable at 50Hz. This marked the first time an offshore wind farm has used a battery system to offer frequency response to the grid.
“We’re excited to use battery technology to demonstrate this wind power and battery hybrid capability,” said Ole Kjems Sørensen, Senior Vice President, Partnerships/M&A and Asset Management at DONG Energy.
Technology hybridization is the inspiration behind another project developed by Max Boegl Wind AG and GE Renewable Energy in Gaildorf, Germany. By pairing the world’s tallest onshore wind turbines (standing at 809 feet) with internal batteries, the company hopes to achieve greater power and efficiency.
The project uses water for energy storage, turning the foundation of the wind turbines into water reservoirs. While the wind is blowing, water is lifted about 100 feet inside the shaft. When the wind stops, the falling water generates hydroelectric power. This process allows the the towers to act like enormous batteries. This project—forecasted to produce 10 gigawatts of power each year—represents the first example of wind and water power technologies working together to supply reliable renewable energy.
While Germany’s current portfolio includes 38% renewable sources, the government’s goal is to increase the percentage of renewable energy sources for power generation to 50%.
“Without large-scale and forward-looking projects and ideas, the energy transition in Germany cannot succeed,” Josef Knitl, of Max Bögl Wind AG told Windpower Engineering & Development. “With the water battery and hybrid towers, we are making wind energy a more attractive and efficient source of clean energy while also setting new records.”
Do you think that the addition of energy storage could make wind power more competitive in US markets as well?