One needs two ingredients to make wind plus storage succeed: technical capabilities and a predictable revenue stream that values the firmed capacity. New utility and regulatory activity in 2018 are clear signposts that wind paired with energy storage is poised to emerge at scale in 3-5 years.
Analysis from our new report The Potential Wind-Plus-Storage Roadmap introduces new policies from select states, like the proposed wind-plus-storage capacity credit from a utility in Montana, or Massachusetts’s new clean peak standard. Other markets, such as Texas, have exceptional wind resources but few if any mechanisms in place to recognize the value storing this wind would bring.
While the first projects are likely a few years away, wind developers who don’t consider wind-paired-storage in their long-term planning are likely to be left behind as markets adjust and storage costs continue to drop.
Fighting wind’s natural characteristics
Wind energy is intermittent in nature, making it less reliable compared to traditional energy alternatives like oil and gas. Providing wind energy as a continuous baseload resource is not technically feasible, but meeting a limited capacity window with wind-plus-storage can be depending on wind resources and capacity requirements.
Potential extended periods of low wind speeds mean that there is no 100% uptime guarantee for wind energy, even when meeting short capacity windows. With proper risk management in place, however, uptime of wind-plus-storage could approach the availability of conventional fossil-fuel generators.
Cost savings through co-locating
Pairing storage systems with wind assets presents a realistic revenue opportunity, as already seen with solar-plus-storage systems. Wind-paired-storage deployments will be propelled by savings of 5-15% of total system costs, as developers can co-locate storage facilities where infrastructure is already in place.