Battery system for wind turbines to stabilize electricity prices

November 29, 2018, Aalborg University
The new battery system from Aalborg University will smooth out the power output of wind turbines, benefitting consumer, distributor and producer. Credit: Colourbox

The problem with wind turbines is that they produce electricity "as the wind blows." When there are high winds, production increases and the price of electricity falls; when the wind tapers off, production decreases and the price of electricity rises. This is problematic for the power grid and a bad deal for wind turbine owners.

So researchers at Aalborg University (AAU) in Denmark are developing a power converter for wind turbines with a built-in that can absorb and emit energy as needed, and thus even out production. The project is a partnership between AAU, Ørsted and ABB's Corporate Research Center in Sweden, funded with DKK 6 million from Innovation Fund Denmark.

"Currently, equipment is required from multiple suppliers in order to achieve the same effect. This means challenges in coordinating and optimising the system. The solution we are proposing has significant potential to reduce costs and increase the profitability of wind turbines by combining several functions in one product," says Remus Teodorescu, Professor, AAU and the project's scientific manager.

The goal is to develop the solution for a proof of concept and then evaluate the technical and financial options in order to expand into pilot installations in the future.

Integrating with expands the technical possibilities so that will be able to deliver renewable energy with the same or higher levels of security and resilience as fossil fuels.

The proposed solution will help optimise wind turbine operation, and it can potentially lower the price of electricity while increasing production. Both are necessary if we want to increase the proportion of renewable energy in energy systems in the future. That is precisely why large companies are already involved in the project, including ABB and Ørsted, formerly DONG Energy.

'Ørsted has an ambitious strategy for maintaining its leading position in the offshore wind industry. At the same time, we are intent on lowering the price of electricity. Unique technical solutions and products will come out of this project, and we expect to use them in the design, construction and operation of our portfolio of wind power stations, infrastructure and grid connection systems within existing and future market conditions," says Troels Stybe Sørensen, Director, Ørsted.

"For ABB, this is a really interesting project because it allows us to develop new technology for a growing market combined with that can meet more stringent grid connectivity requirements and reduce the total cost of electricity from offshore wind energy," says Mikael Dahlgren, Director, ABB Corporate Research, Sweden.

Flexible systems like this are a prerequisite for wind power to comprise an even greater proportion of electricity production while also being robust and stable. Energy storage with batteries will also minimise the risk of high-wind weather leading to negative power prices and limitations on electricity production, which was the situation in Denmark during Christmas 2016.

Explore further: Emissions-free hydrogen production edges closer with new pilot site in Denmark

Related Stories

Wind energy's swift growth, explained (Update)

April 23, 2018

The wind industry is growing quickly around the world, especially in China and the U.S., where the total amount of electricity generated by wind turbines nearly doubled between 2011 and 2017.

New wind turbines show high efficiency in low winds

June 12, 2018

VTT Research Centre of Technology (VTT) has explored the potential and economic benefits of new wind power technology. The technology would greatly increase the benefits of wind energy and enable the competitive utilisation ...

Wind output in Denmark last year was a record-setter

January 9, 2018

An impressive share of a country's energy consumption through wind? That is one more sign of wind energy's potential as countries look for cleaner energy alternatives. The spotlight goes on Denmark.

Denmark champions wind power, sets record

January 10, 2015

Denmark has had a record year for wind power production. Denmark got 39.1 percent of its overall electricity from wind in 2014. That figure is according to the country's Climate and Energy Ministry.

Danish wind power whips up record 43% of electricity

January 11, 2018

Wind power generated 43.4 percent of electricity consumed in Denmark last year, a new record for the Nordic nation which aims to rely on renewables for half of its energy needs by 2030, authorities said Thursday.

Recommended for you

In colliding galaxies, a pipsqueak shines bright

February 20, 2019

In the nearby Whirlpool galaxy and its companion galaxy, M51b, two supermassive black holes heat up and devour surrounding material. These two monsters should be the most luminous X-ray sources in sight, but a new study using ...

Physicists 'flash-freeze' crystal of 150 ions

February 20, 2019

Physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have "flash-frozen" a flat crystal of 150 beryllium ions (electrically charged atoms), opening new possibilities for simulating magnetism at the quantum ...

When does one of the central ideas in economics work?

February 20, 2019

The concept of equilibrium is one of the most central ideas in economics. It is one of the core assumptions in the vast majority of economic models, including models used by policymakers on issues ranging from monetary policy ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

5 / 5 (1) Nov 29, 2018
They should also consider using integrated kinetic energy storage devices, ie raising/lower a large mass and/or massive flywheel. High density batteries could also be used as part of the mass.
not rated yet Nov 30, 2018
Think super capacitor storage would be more viable. That said nothing new about this idea, surprised that just dont have a package solution per turbine instead of reinventing the wheel by trying to build it in.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.