Hybrid power systems, such as systems that combine solar panels and battery storage, can help the United States tackle climate change and meet growing demand for electricity, according to a new study.
But the findings of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory indicate that more work is needed to better understand how to put the different parts together.
“These integrated power systems are increasingly recognized as the key to achieving maximum efficiency and cost savings in future decarbonized networks,” according to the NREL work report. But “using tools to help plan these future networks to assess the benefits of hybrid power remains a challenge.”
Caitlin Murphy, Senior Analyst and Hybrid Power Systems Expert at NREL, noted that the focus on single-technology power plants has been ‘isolated’. ”She reviewed previous research. The risk is that engineers overlook the potential benefits of hybrid methods.
He said the Department of Energy has established a “hybrid task force” involving NREL and eight other labs to fill in the “blanks” in existing research and called for greater cooperation with the US electrical industry.
“Determining the value that [hybrids] bring to the grid in the form of power, capacity and ancillary services is crucial, especially in relation to the implementation of each technology separately,” said Murphy. Study
NREL noted that, in some cases, coupling solar energy (no fuel cost) and the battery can collect more solar energy.
Energy can also be transferred to periods when electricity prices are higher. Otherwise, power plants will have to buy electricity from the grid, which will be more expensive and possibly non-renewable.
With the growth of solar energy, the possibility of combining it with battery systems “will be increasingly important to understand the impact of design parameters on economic performance,” said Anna Schleifer, another NREL analyst, Research has contributed .
NREL’s analysis noted that the economics of other hybrid renewable energy mixes should be explored for future use. One is a power plant that combines solar energy and wind farms to provide longer-term electricity.
Another option is to integrate nuclear energy with electrolysis systems. The plant can use nuclear energy to separate hydrogen from water during periods of low demand. You can then store hydrogen to generate electricity during times when electricity is most expensive, rather than buying it from the grid.
Reprinted from E&E News with permission of POLITICO, LLC. Copyright 2021. E&E News provides important news for energy and environmental professionals.