Statoil: Batteries can address wind power variability

Company will use batteries with a brain to determine when to store energy and when to shift it to the grid.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  Nov. 28, 2017 at 7:20 AM
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Nov. 28 (UPI) -- Norwegian energy company Statoil said it was planning a battery system for a floating wind farm that will be "smart " enough to compensate for calm conditions.

The company said Tuesday its Hywind facility off the coast of Scotland, the first floating wind farm in service in the world, will be equipped next year with batteries to store power.

"The purpose is to 'teach' the battery when to hold back and store electricity, and when send power to the grid, thus increasing value of the power," the company explained.

The company last year unveiled an energy-storage project dubbed Batwind at its Hywind floating offshore wind farm. Through a memorandum of understanding signed with the Scottish government, the company aims to install a Lithium battery storage system within two years.

The company said Tuesday it was now handing out contracts to deliver the 1 megawatt battery system, which will be in service by the second quarter of next year.

"Through Batwind we are including software -- or a brain if you like -- on top of the battery to ensure that the battery behaves the way we want it to behave," Sebastian Bringsværd, the head of Hywind development at Statoil, said in a statement. "We want the battery to automatically know when to hold back and store electricity, and when to send it out to the grid."

Reliability for variable sources of energy like wind and solar power are a concern. The U.S. energy secretary, Rick Perry, in April was calling for an investigation into the resilience and reliability of the nation's energy grid. With renewable resources like solar and wind deemed variable because of the nature of their power origins, the secretary said the issue was a critical one given regulatory burdens enacted by previous administrations that could impact legacy resources like coal-fired power generation.

For Statoil, the battery component for wind energy adds support to its efforts to complement its oil and gas portfolio with "profitable renewable energy."

The company, one of the major European oil and gas producers, put its Dudgeon wind farm off the British coast in service earlier this month. The Dudgeon wind farm is about 25 miles off the coast of Norfolk and, with a combined capacity of 402 MW, can meet the energy demands of around 410,000 average households at its peak.

Statoil reported adjusted earnings after tax for the third quarter at $2.3 billion, more than double the amount from the same period last year.

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