The South African Wind Energy Association (Sawea) has announced that it will be creating a discussion platform to support members and the broader renewable energy sector, by addressing questions that are emerging in relation to wind and storage hybrid projects.
Explaining why Electrical Energy Storage (EES) is such an important discussion to engage the industry in, Sawea CEO Ntombifuthi Ntuli notes that there is a global wave of hybrid projects that use, among other things, wind and battery storage.
“These projects will stabilise grids, have the capability to provide ancillary grid services, and increase efficiencies through increased capabilities to do load matching while maintaining the cost effectiveness associated with utility scale wind,” she states.
Ntuli adds that several Sawea members have reported that they submitted hybrid projects as part of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy’s request for information response in January 2020.
The discussion will look at surrounding policy, technical and environmental aspects, so although the full programme has not been finalised yet, the discussion topics that are expected to be covered include: market potential; potential power purchase agreements and tariff structures; capital costs and levelised cost of energy; additional permitting requirements related to wind and storage hybrid plants; additional environmental authorisations particularly related to storage and system integration.
Sawea believes that it has a role to play in the space as the integration of energy storage represents a feasible solution to one of the key technical drawbacks of wind energy, namely that of intermittency.
To make this work, the association has reached out to the South African Energy Storage Association to collaborate in this event and bring their energy storage expertise, which will add great value to the discussion.
“As an industry we recognise this and are actively searching for cost effective technical solutions. The timing is right because of the costs of storage falling sharply while the rollout of wind is still increasing.
“In particular, hybridisation of wind energy with storage has the potential to enable wind farms to operate consistently with superior local load matching capabilities,” says Ntuli.
Changing the Energy Game
Sawea’s Environmental Working Group has already formed a subcommittee on energy storage authorisation, which will look into environmental impact assessment requirements for energy storage in detail and by the date of the seminar, the association will provide more clarity.
To estimate the market potential that EES has in South Africa, it is best to look at the Integrated Resource Plan 2019’s allocation of 2 088 MW of energy storage, the association says.
Sawea further highlights that this is the potential market that is envisaged over the next ten years. Added to that, the market size for storage solutions could increase significantly through hybridisation with renewable facilities.
“There is an option to incentivise storage though the implementation of independent power producer power purchase agreement structures that pay for ancillary grid services and possibly through new time of use tariff structures,” she explains.
EES Aids Wind Power in SA
There is the potential that even though the initial capital expenditure may be higher, increased system availability and sales of stored energy at peak prices, through time of use tariffs that match system tariffs, would increase revenue and lower the levelised cost of energy, says Sawea.
Ntuli underscores that the hybrid solutions – including full dispatchable storage – are already cheaper than peaking plants and are technically feasible. If permitted, it can be used for other technical grid related uses.
Moreover, wind and storage hybrid plants can address the issue of variability and smooth the energy output from wind facilities, while at the same time introducing the properties to do local load matching and even the opportunity for addressing base load requirements on the grid.
“Hybrid plants would enable wind plants to meet the day-ahead schedules to avoid penalties, while also giving the grid operator additional capacity for grid support to ensure stability,” concludes Ntuli.