Hybrid renewable power plants make a good business case but need clearer legislation to become more widespread
On 8 October WindEurope spoke in a “Hybrid Power Plants” conference organised by Solar Plaza. The conference focused on hybrid wind/solar and wind/solar/storage power plants and how can help speed up the energy transition.
A hybrid renewable power plant combines at least two renewable generation technologies sharing one single connection point to the grid and may include storage. Hybrid projects can play a big role in increasing power system efficiency and ensure a greater balance in the energy supply.
The combination of technologies provides technical and economic benefits.. Hybrid power plants can help maximising the use of grid connection points which is cost-effective. And if there’s a good complementarity of wind and solar resources at the site, the power output is more stable and dispatchable. This can offer new opportunities for revenue streams to the project.
Europe currently has 7 hybrid wind/solar power plants and 22 wind farms co-located with storage. But their deployment will only accelerate if Governments establish hybrid power plants in their legal framework and provide clear definitions. This will help to simplify the permitting of these hybrid projects, as they won’t have to be treated on a case-by-case basis. Clear arrangements are also necessary for monitoring, power traceability and power labelling in such plants.
To make hybrid power plants economically viable Governments should allow developers to install and connect more total renewable energy capacity than the contracted one with the grid given that the plant’s power output does not exceed the contracted capacity. Ireland, Portugal and Spain already allow installed capacity to exceed contracted connection capacity – more countries should follow this example.
Governments should also allow equal access to balancing and other ancillary services markets for hybrid power plants. And corporate PPAs should incorporate the total cost of delivered energy to support hybrids with storage.
WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson said: “Hybrid wind/solar power plants can play a crucial role in our future energy system. They generate more power and provide less variable power than wind or solar plants on their own. But Governments need to start supporting them in regulation, especially to make it easier to get permits and grid connections for them.”