Is Offshore Wind a Better Deal With Batteries?
A partnership between developer Bay State Wind and NEC Energy Solutions this month highlighted a growing push to pair energy storage with offshore wind.
Bay State Wind said it will work with NEC Energy Solutions to add batteries to an 800-megawatt offshore wind farm planned for 15 miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.
The project will represent the world’s largest wind‐paired energy storage system for commercial‐scale energy, said Bay State Wind, which is a joint partnership between the Danish power company Ørsted, formerly known as Dong, and U.S. transmission builder Eversource.
This month, Bay State Wind qualified for Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST-41), making it the first and only offshore wind project, and one of only 38 infrastructure projects in the U.S., to receive FAST-41 status.
NEC will add 55 megawatts and 110 megawatt-hours of storage to the wind farm “to help the region in overcoming winter reliability challenges by delivering energy when it is needed most and help to reduce winter peak energy prices and price volatility,” Bay State Wind said.
The developer highlighted the deal’s potential to create new jobs, since NEC Energy Solutions was born from the ashes of A123, a Massachusetts-based company.
Bay State Wind also said the offshore wind and energy storage combination would help cut winter electricity prices in Massachusetts by approximately $158 million a year, as well as enhance grid stability by shifting energy delivery to better meet demand.
“The development of a robust battery storage system will help small businesses and consumers by ensuring a steady supply of energy, thereby reducing high‐demand energy spikes,” said Mike Auseré, Eversource’s vice president of business development.
With offshore wind developers looking to cut costs as quickly as possible, the decision to add extra expense to a project, in the form of batteries, might seem an odd one.
But Michael Guldbrandsten, a former analyst with MAKE Consulting, said the combination might actually improve offshore wind economics.
NEC’s involvement with Bay State Wind “will be crucial to reduce costs associated with balancing demand and supply of power,” he said. “Initiatives like this will become increasingly relevant for integration of offshore wind.”
Last year, he noted, Ørsted moved to install a 2-megawatt power battery at one of its U.K. offshore projects, the 90-megawatt Burbo Bank wind farm, to provide frequency regulation services.