• Wind and Solar
  • Hybrid Renewable Energy Systems
  • Renewables
  • Energy Storage

A New Wave of Renewable Energy Emerges with Hybrid Wind, Solar, and Storage Projects

Alex Eller
Sep 24, 2019

Solar 10

New projects combining wind, solar, and energy storage at a single site are emerging as a major trend in the global transition to renewable energy. Many projects hope to achieve 24/7 renewable energy output, using the complimentary generation profiles of solar and wind. Wind power is typically most productive during the night and solar only produces during the day, combining both resources with energy storage allows project developers to maximize the revenue generation from a given amount of land and grid interconnection.

These hybrid plants are designed to act as a single supply of clean megawatt-hours, with average capacity factors far higher than individual solar or wind plants. However, to achieve these goals, sites need adequate wind and solar resources, enough land, and available transmission capacity. While those three conditions will not exist everywhere, the growing number of new projects is demonstrating the viability of this model.

Building On Experience

The concept of combining wind, solar, and storage in single projects is not new. However, recent hardware price declines now make large-scale projects economical. Some early examples of hybrid projects are early energy storage test sites built alongside solar and wind generation in Europe. For example, Siemens Gamesa has been testing the integration of a 400 kWh flow battery alongside solar and wind generation at its R&D site near Zaragoza, Spain.

The real growth in these projects has occurred in the past 2 years, driven in part by new projects pioneered in India. In April 2018, General Electric announced a small hybrid plant with 41 MW of wind and solar generation alongside a 10 MW/15 MWh battery. Several months later another hybrid project was announced in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Developed by IL&FS Energy Development Company Limited and Black & Veatch the project combines 25 MW solar PV, 16 MW wind, and an undisclosed capacity battery system. Further growth in Indian hybrid projects will be driven by Andhra Pradesh’s announcement to procure 5,000 MW of wind-solar hybrid projects through 2023.

New Projects Around the World

Following India’s lead, new hybrid renewable projects are being developed around the world at increasing scales.

  • Mongolia: In September 2018, the Asian Development Bank announced it is financing a 41 MW hybrid wind-solar plant with an onsite battery.
  • Australia: The Kennedy Energy Center is expected to be online by the end of 2019, combining 43 MW wind, 15 MW solar PV, and 2 MW/4 MWh battery storage. 
  • Europe: The Swedish utility Vattenfall is building a hybrid plant in the Netherlands combining 22 MW wind, 38 MW solar PV, and 12 MWh battery.
  • US: The US is emerging as a leader in this market. In February 2019, utility Portland General Electric announced a hybrid plant combining 300 MW wind, 50 MW solar PV, and 30 MW/120 MWh battery storage. In July 2017, an even larger project was announced by Western Farmers Electric Cooperative in Oklahoma. The Skeleton Creek project will integrate 250 MW wind, 250 MW solar, and 200 MW battery storage. 

Vendors and developers have noted this trend’s acceleration. In 2018, Vestas announced it will be developing hybrid plants through partnerships with solar PV and energy storage suppliers. Vestas and other developers, such as NextEra Energy, will have to overcome barriers in the market including the lack of hybrid project accreditation and interconnection processes.

Navigant Research explored trends in solar plus storage projects in its recent report, How Utilities Can Look Beyond Natural Gas with Cost-Effective Solar Plus Storage Strategies, and will explore energy storage for wind integration in an upcoming report. Hybrid projects represent the next frontier of renewable energy integration and a potentially large new market for energy storage.