Batteries Super Charge Wind Industry

August 14, 2017


Climate Central:

Tesla and wind farm developer Deepwater Wind are planning to team up to create the largest project in the world that combines an offshore wind farm with large-scale electricity storage, the companies announced Tuesday.

The project, called the Revolution Wind Farm, would generate electricity about 12 miles off the shore of Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., and store some of it in large batteries built by Tesla. The project would have the capacity to generate 144 megawatts of wind power, or enough electricity to power 80,000 homes, according to Deepwater Wind.

If approved by the state, the wind farm would begin operating in 2023. It is expected to be built next to another wind farm proposed by Deepwater Wind called the South Fork Wind Project. That project would serve Long Island, N.Y.

The companies proposed Revolution Wind as part of a call in Massachusetts for new sources of renewable energy across the state. The state hopes to generate more clean energy to meet its climate goals by cutting the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. Electric power plants running on coal and natural gas have historically been America’s largest source of carbon pollution contributing to climate change.

Revolution Wind brings together two new industries in the U.S. — offshore wind and electricity storage. The expansion and scalability of renewables depends in part on new ways to store wind and solar power, which today can only be used when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining. Big batteries are seen as a solution to that problem because they allow renewable energy to be used whenever it’s needed.

So far, batteries are most often used to store solar power. Tesla has teamed up with electric companies in California to build batteries to help them use more solar, but it has not used the batteries for offshore wind power anywhere in the U.S.


This month, for example, the Danish utility Dong announced the installation of a 2-megawatt battery system at its 90-megawatt Burbo Bank offshore wind farm, which is connected to the U.K. grid.

The battery system will be operational by the end of the year and will be used for frequency response. “It will be the first time an offshore wind farm is integrated with a battery system to deliver frequency response to the grid,” said Dong in a press release.

The announcement reflects market conditions where generation profiles, regulation and balance of plant cost reductions all help storage improve site economics.

In April, for example, Danish manufacturer Vestas was said to be “keen to expand into areas such as energy storage to increase the global use of wind power and bring costs down,” according to Reuters.

“The storage side is interesting, and there are a lot of small startups that might be of interest. I’m looking for industry batteries,” Vestas chairman Bert Nordberg told the newswire. “If you can store over-production in a good way, it would take down the total cost.”

Similarly, last year the Norwegian state-owned oil company Statoil said it was planning to add a 1-megawatt-hour lithium-ion battery system to a floating offshore wind farm in late 2018.

No time to waste.


If Europe is to fall in line with the Paris Climate Agreement intention of limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, the region must significantly increase its rate of growth for offshore wind development, tripling it at the very least.

These are the primary conclusions published by Michiel Müller from leading international energy and climate consultancy, Ecofys, who penned an article for Energy Post last week explaining that “Europe will need a fully decarbonized electricity supply by 2045” and that “Renewables are essential to making this happen,” specifically, Müller argued that “offshore wind from the North Seas region will be pivotal for realising a 100% decarbonised electricity supply in less than 30 years.”

Müller’s argument is based on research done between Ecofys and its parent company, Navigant, which looked at offshore wind generation in the North Sea for the ten countries surrounding the North Sea — France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. Specifically, a white paper published in March by Ecofys and Navigant concluded that 15% of the North Sea region’s total electricity demand could be supplied by offshore wind energy by 2030. This integrated ‘North Sea Grid’ is believed to be the only way to achieve the growth necessary to help meet the Paris Climate Agreement targets.

The research from Ecofys and Navigant determined that the total available onshore generation from various renewable energy sources — wind, solar, bio, hydro, and a little bit of nuclear — would only be able to provide up to 55% of the required capacity to meet the Paris Agreement targets. This leaves 45% needed to be covered by offshore wind, which translates into approximately 230 GW (gigawatts) — 180 GW generated in the North Sea, and the remaining 50 GW in other seas such as the Baltic and Irish Seas, as well as the Atlantic Ocean.

There is currently only 13 GW worth of offshore installed in the region, requiring a massive turning of the screws to increase the rate of delivery. Ecofys and Navigant explains that the installation rate would have to triple from the current 3 GW a year to approximately 10 GW a year.



3 Responses to “Batteries Super Charge Wind Industry”

  1. mboli Says:

    “The project would have the capacity to generate 144 megawatts of wind power, or enough electricity to power 80,000 homes, according to Deepwater Wind.”
    Doesn’t this project point out the absurdity of such statements?
    First of all the “homes” unit of electricity is not helpful and should be junked.
    Second, nameplate capacity is not the important point of the article. The entire point of storage is to be able to deliver more dispatchable power from the same nameplate capacity. What the article ought to be talking about is some measure of average MWh per day delivered, or something like that.

    • wpNSAlito Says:

      “First of all the ‘homes’ unit of electricity is not helpful and should be junked.”

      Yes, please. Put it in the pile with “width of a human hair” and “grapefruit-sized hail”.

  2. Reblogged this on The Most Revolutionary Act and commented:
    Tesla and wind farm developer Deepwater Wind are teaming up to create the largest project in the world that combines an offshore wind farm with large-scale electricity storage

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