The world’s first floating offshore wind farm, the 30MW Hywind project in Scotland, has this week chalked up another first, with the addition of a 1MW onshore battery system, to store excess power from the wind turbines.
Project owners Equinor and Masdar, in partnership with battery storage provider Younicos, this week completed the 1MW Batwind energy storage project, making it the first time a battery storage project has been connected with an offshore wind energy project.
Located at an onshore substation in Peterhead, the two Younicos Y Cubes (its 10-foot modular battery containers) are now able to provide dynamic balancing for the wind project, the companies said.
Hywind Scotland was announced all the way back in November of 2015 when the Scottish Government approved construction of the 30MW project by oil and gas giant Statoil, now known as Equinor.
In January of 2017, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company Masdar acquired a 25 per cent stake in the project, further solidifying its value and future prospects.
A year earlier, however, Statoil had already floated plans of combining the project with a battery storage solution, serving as a pilot demonstration and test-bed for the combined technologies.
The project began generating electricity in October of 2017, and a few months later Equinor announced that it was outperforming all expectations and generating at a level consistently above that of traditional offshore wind turbines (i.e., those built into the seafloor).
Traditional seafloor mounted wind turbines generate at around 45-60 per cent of capacity – which is to say, they generate 100 per cent of their potential capacity between 45-60 per cent of the time.
Hywind Scotland, however, was generating at an average of 65 per cent over its first three months, partly because it is a floating wind farm, and able to work farther out to sea, giving it access to stronger and more consistent winds.
The project even survived the extremely hectic weather that battered the region towards the end of 2017, weathering hurricane Ophelia in October and Storm Caroline in early December and encountering waves in excess of 8.2 metres.
Younicos was awarded the battery supply contract back in November by Equinor, and combined it with Y.Q. software.
“We’re very proud to partner with Equinor and provide our expertise from over 200 megawatts of storage projects to this pioneering project,” said Karim Wazni, Managing Director of Younicos.
“By adding energy storage capabilities to another world “first” – the world’s first floating wind farm – we hope to demonstrate the essential role that storage plays as we continue pushing the frontier in producing sustainable energy.
“Specifically, we’ve equipped Batwind with our intelligent Y.Q software, which ensures that the battery ’learns’ the optimal storage conditions.
Our software tells the battery when to store electricity and for how long, and when and how much to inject back onto the grid.”
“The variability of renewable energy can to a certain extent be managed by the grid,” added Sebastian Bringsvaerd, Development Manager for Hywind and Batwind.
“But to make renewable energy more competitive and integrate even more renewables to the grid, we will need to find new, smart solutions for energy storage to provide firm power. How to do this in a smart and value creating way is what we are aiming to learn from Batwind.”