The energy industry is becoming challenged with the volume of intermittent generation on the grid brought upon by large scale renewables. Electricity operators prefer higher firm capacity and dispatchable generation. Co-locating renewable generation with the addition of storage allow developers to provide a firmer resource with the benefit of dispatchability. Wind and solar profiles complement one another making a good combination of generation when coupled with storage.
In addition to the benefits for the grid operators of a firmer resource, collocating renewable generation projects allows the developer to benefit from capital investment and operational savings by utilization of land identified for wind developments, sharing PPAs, proving greater revenue streams and overall lowering the cost of energy.
Where there is benefit there is always challenges, often locations ideal for wind are not ideal for solar. Some reasons include harsh climate conditions, challenging terrain, ad unique geotechnical requirements. There is an increase in the modelling complexity of solar facility coupled with wind; variable installation terrain, turbine shadowing, horizon shadowing. The use of a battery energy storage system with renewables can accelerate degradation of the battery requiring careful consideration of use.
In order to overcome these potential roadblocks an important analysis in the prefeasibility phase needs to be done to consider potential energy mix, technologies to be used, and conduct complex hybrid modelling. Innovations in technologies also assist with overcoming the challenges of renewables co-location including redeployable solar racking systems for easy install in complex terrains, increasingly common use of string inverters for utility scale solar design and increasing efficiency of lithium ion batteries requiring less space for more storage capabilities.
Collocating renewable technologies with energy storage systems is the new mainstream in the renewables space and important considerations need to be made early on in the development of these projects.