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Future energy production: hybrid power plants as a model

More and more hybrid power plants are being built around the world, combining different variants of renewable energy production. The advantages are numerous, the possibilities for worldwide use quite great.

At the Haringvliet energy park, Vattenfall combines wind, solar and storage (Image: Vattenfall)At the Haringvliet energy park, Vattenfall combines wind, solar and storage (Image: Vattenfall)

At the beginning of this week, Swedish energy company Vattenfall opened 'Haringvliet', an energy park in the province of South Holland, about 50 kilometres southwest of Rotterdam. There, wind, solar and batteries are combined, which ensures lower development costs while minimising the impact on the environment.

It is the first time Vattenfall has combined these three technologies in one place. The so-called full hybrid power plant for generating and storing renewable energy is located in the 'Goeree-Overflakkee' region - and it is not to be the last of its kind for Vattenfall. "We are gaining important experience with the project, that we want to use in Germany, too" says Claus Wattendrup, Head of Solar & Batteries Business Unit at Vattenfall. "The combination of generation and storage, which was thought of from the outset, can set an example for more efficient planning and implementation of such projects. This can accelerate the expansion of renewable energies in this country as well," he says, raising hopes for a deployment in Germany.

The energy park consists of six wind turbines with an installed capacity of 22 MW, a ground-mounted photovoltaic system with 115,000 solar modules (38 MW) and a battery storage system consisting of a total of 288 batteries housed in 12 standard sea containers. The individual components share a common grid connection. Per year, the plant generates renewable electricity that is arithmetically equivalent to the consumption of 40,000 Dutch households.

The integrated planning and development of such projects offers numerous advantages, Vattenfall emphasises: planning all technologies in one step instead of one after the other or in parallel saves time and resources. It is also cheaper to build if there is only one construction site and the heavy equipment for erecting the plants can be shared. Once connected, the individual components share the same transformer station, cables and service roads. This keeps the impact on nature to a minimum.

German developer juwi has been using another advantage for its own hybrid power plants for some time now: the company equips mines in remote regions in Africa and Australia that aren't connected to power grids. This way, the energy can be used on site and optimally utilised.

Solar modules and wind turbines complement each other perfectly, whether day or night, summer or winter. Meanwhile, the battery serves as storage for the generated electricity or ensures a balanced power grid via the grid connection.

For mine operator Sedibelo, a hybrid of solar and wind power plant is the ideal solution (Image: Sedibolo)

Thus last year the TransAlta hybrid project for a BHP nickel mine in Western Australia was equipped with a solar power plant and a battery. Dave Manning, Director 'Global Hybrid' at juwi explains: "... solar power is generated directly on site, and power integration is also provided by a cloud forecasting tool as well as the latest juwi technology for grid integration, juwi Hybrid IQ. [...] The resource industry is proving its leadership in technology and decarbonisation, while reducing money spent on operations and risks from petrol prices." "Thanks to our extensive expertise with hybrid planning as well as project execution, our clients can reduce their O&M costs while assuming high reliability," adds Cameron Garnsworthy, Managing Director at juwi Australia.

And word has spread: Last week, juwi announced it will be building another hybrid power plant with wind and solar energy for a platinum mine in South Africa. And there are also further projects in Australia: For the power supply of the city of Esperance, juwi is implementing a hybrid project in Western Australia consisting of a 4-megawatt solar farm, two 4.5-megawatt wind turbines and a lithium-ion battery storage system. The plant will be synchronised with the existing gas generators.

And so it should only be a matter of time before more and more companies take advantage of hybrid power plants.

Katrin Radtke
hybrid power plant, Netherlands, Vattenfall, juwi, South Africa, Australia, mine, wind, solar, battery, storage, faclity, Energie Park, renewable energy

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