Statoil Launches Battery Storage For Offshore Wind Farm

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Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil has announced this week it intends to pilot a battery storage solution for offshore wind farms.

Statoil announced that it will develop Batwind, a pilot battery storage solution that will be constructed in tandem with the world’s largest floating offshore wind farm, also being developed by Statoil, offshore Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

Statoil-2Statoil received approval from the Scottish Government back in November to develop the Hywind pilot floating offshore wind farm. Hywind will be a 30 MW wind farm, built on floating structures 25 kilometers offshore from Peterhead. According to Statoil, the wind farm will generate the approximate equivalent electricity necessary for 20,000 households, with production expected to begin in 2017.

“Statoil is proud to develop the world’s first floating wind farm,” said Irene Rummelhoff, Statoil’s executive vice president for New Energy Solutions. “Our objective with the Hywind pilot park is to demonstrate the feasibility of future commercial, utility-scale floating wind farms. This will further increase the global market potential for offshore wind energy, contributing to realizing our ambition of profitable growth in renewable energy and other low-carbon solutions.”

Statoil is hoping that its new battery pilot project will serve as a launchpad for future technological and commercial growth, and eventually lead to the implementation of Batwind as a full-scale development. Batwind will be developed in cooperation with Scottish universities and suppliers, under a new Memorandum of Understanding signed in Edinburgh on 18 March between Statoil, the Scottish Government, the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, and Scottish Enterprise.

“Statoil has a strong position in offshore wind,” said Stephen Bull, Statoil’s senior vice president for offshore wind. “By developing innovative battery storage solutions, we can improve the value of wind energy for both Statoil and customers. With Batwind, we can optimize the energy system from wind park to grid. Battery storage represents a new application in our offshore wind portfolio, contributing to realizing our ambition of profitable growth in this area.”


Battery storage programs built in tandem with renewable energy developments such as wind farms have the potential to mitigate the intermittency inherent to renewable energy, thereby improving efficiency and lowering costs for offshore wind.

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18 thoughts on “Statoil Launches Battery Storage For Offshore Wind Farm

  • Did they ever consider using pumped hydro instead of chemical batteries ? Hydro can work with seawater

    • Believe that the project is a test bed for a battery to be developed for use in the large number of off shore wind farms (as well, as onshore) being developed. Hydro storage may be an choice but again this is a test site – as I read the article and the company’s site. I suspect that the use of saltwater in large quanities would be rather damaging to the area used unless storage was closed. Lou Gage

      • Hello Lou
        It seems to me that if your generator is off shore you obviously have access to water. Why not use what is locally, readily available ?
        Tide action brings saltwater well inland and nature handles it just fine. You might want to consider the damaging effects of the mining and manufacturing operations needed for these batteries

        • Tides do bring salt water inland. It also can greatly change the environment harshly. Not for pumped hydro just not sure it fits all plants. Batteries and concrete both have down sides. I live on the coast where the coastal plain is quite flat. Little knowledge of pumped hydro but concrete plants are close and they are not nice. Lou Gage

          • Good point about the concrete. The two pumped hydro plants near me do not use dams and I suspect not so much concrete but others do use dams. The concrete infrastructure should last many times the life of the batteries so in the long term it could be better.

    • One (quite large) proposed project was the so called Energy Atol in Belgium (Wenduine). The idea was to build a small offshore atol that would pump seawater inside the atol ring during periods of high offshore wind production and then let it flow back through a turbine when production is low again.

      The problem is that even optimistic cost calculations showed that such a design is too expensive compared to onshore pumped hydro, a storage method that very few countries are even close to maxing out.

      Another interesting storage proposal is to use the abandoned natural gas drilling platforms in the North Sea for storage. The idea is to install power to gas units on the platforms and connect them to nearby offshore wind farms.

      The big advantage is that these platforms already have connections to the national gas grid and come with all the safety measures needed to work with natural gas preinstalled. It’s not as efficient as batteries, but not too far behind pumped hydro.

      • What is the feedstock for the offshore power to gas units ? how about hydrogen generation from electrolysis ? Anyway it seems like a good re-use for these platforms

        • The feedstock for most methane generators is a mix of carbon dioxide and hydrogen (the latter generated on site).

          Why not use hydrogen directly then? You could do it, but then you would need to replace a lot of perfectly serviceable infrastructure (NG storage and transport facilities can’t handle pure hydrogen).

          Once onshore, you could mix the hydrogen into the regular NG grid. You can mix 2-5% hydrogen into natural gas without changing its combustion properties, corrosiveness or any other important parameters. However, there is currently no legal framework for that.

          Considering that the extra efficiency due to the hydrogen to methane step is negligible compared to the loss from power to hydrogen, the extra convenience of methane probably outweighs the tiny conversion loss.

          However, I personally remain convinced that onshore pumped hydro is by far the most cost effective storage option, followed by demand response. Both batteries and power to gas are expensive and (for now) unnecessary methods.

  • Again with the batteries. Basically because winter in Scotland has a 70% reduction in PV performance but substantial wind power… in blurts and squirts. They need a bucket to catch the juice in so it is nice and even for the people. A battery is a rain barrel.

    • …..and big “rain barrel”s are called hydropower impoundments. Consider a more useful and proven option called hydro as storage

      • Yes, the water is there, but the container is not. It likely prohibitively expensive unless there are already pump up hydro facilities on shore.

        • Maybe the economics are different if you consider that the hydro can operate for centuries but the batteries…..decades maybe ??

        • Scotland has the potential to build several additional onshore pumped hydro facilities.

          But keep in mind that this is a demonstration project. More likely than not, this is meant as a demonstration to nations like Belgium or the Netherlands that aren’t blessed with a large pumped hydro potential.

          • There is another type of water storage practiced in Canada. The energy is stored in compressed air. The air is compressed in huge bags at depth under the water. Water pressure provides the necessary containment of relatively cheap bags. It might be perfect for off shore wind farm storage. The demo project is in Lake Ontario off the shore of Toronto.

          • I would think that much of the world has flat coastal plains close to the ocean. Northern Europe seems blessed to have headlands that are higher than the sea but if these batteries test out then the world is a market – since off shore wind is stronger. Then also, the batteries could be used for on shore storage. No one solution. Generally is it not true that pumped hydro is a net energy user and that the lag time for generation of power is longer than batteries. Lou Gage

          • Does it matter that you have to go a bit further inland? Most countries have unified electricity grids and in many countries grids are even integrated across borders. As such, it is no issue that the generator (an offshore wind farm) is far removed from the storage medium (a pumped hydro plant in the mountains).

            “Pumped hydro is a net energy user”. That presumably refers to the fact that it has a less than perfect round trip efficiency?

            First of all, that applies to batteries as well (though to a lesser extent, as round trip efficiency is over 90% as opposed to 75%-ish for a good pumped hydro plant).

            But what’s really important to realize, is that power at times of excess production has no value. Literally. Spot market prices for power often drop to close zero and on rare occasions even go negative.

            As such, the efficiency of a storage system is almost irrelevant from a purely economical perspective. What matters is the cost of storing a kWh of power, and that is generally quite favorable to hydro.

            Finally there is the time lag argument. For this, we need to make a distinction between frequency regulation and storage.

            The former involves smoothing out the frequency fluctuations that originate from small, local imbalances between production and consumption. This requires very fast response times and is thus best left to batteries. However, the amounts of energy involved in this market are tiny – a 20MW battery system can provide frequency regulation to a large city and still have capacity left over.

            And then there is energy storage. This requires longer term storage (hours or days) of far larger amounts of power to smooth out large but relatively predictable power shortfalls originating from weather changes or power plant outages. A response time of minutes is more than sufficient here, and pumped hydro provides that.

  • I wounder how much resonant VIBRATION will occur from the towers and what harmful effects it may have to the underwater environment ? And how far the sounds will travel. Not to mention the effects on marine life and manuals of the sea!

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