If we are to believe NextEra Energy Resources, it’s already possible to jam wind turbines, solar panels and lithium-ion batteries together into a profitable clean energy smorgasbord. The renewables developer has already done it at least twice, most recently in Oklahoma.
The hybridization of solar and batteries is well underway, but these new plants represent something different. Instead of calling on batteries to stretch solar generation over a few extra hours of the day, they pair up complementary renewables for round-the-clock production, with batteries to smoothe the gaps in between. The upshot is a more consistent form of clean energy without an overwhelming premium charged for dispatchability.
This week in Storage Plus, we’re going to think through what this new class of power plant means for the energy transition. The actual market potential for such projects is hard to assess at this stage, because there is minimal data to look at. With that in mind, I’ll think through what mechanisms could help it grow from one or two plants to a proper market in its own right.
“It’s definitely worth paying attention to,” said Chris Hickey, business development director for Enel Green Power. “We’re just starting to see all the different value streams that can be derived from combining these different technologies. It’s going to be very much the norm a few years out.”