$15/MWh in cost savings on average from using a single location, coupling renewable energy and battery power plants

Are coupled renewable-battery power plants more valuable than independently sited installations?” This free webinar will be held on June 15 at 10 am PT / 1 pm ET.

Register for the webinar here: https://lbnl.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_sjjv7ujUR-mQThHZ6kOotw.

Using wholesale power market prices from 2012–2019 across the seven main U.S. independent system operators (ISOs), the new study compares the market value of hybrid projects to the value of the same generators and batteries deployed separately.

The study finds that adding four-hour duration batteries sized to 50% of the capacity of a wind or solar project raises the value by $3–$22/MWh depending on the year and region, with an average value of $10/MWh. The highest boost occurs in California ($15/MWh), where the value of adding storage to solar rises in tandem with increased solar penetration. But an even higher value comes from siting the same batteries separately, in a nearby high-value location. This strategy results in higher value than co-located projects in nearly all markets and years, ranging from $2–$50/MWh, with an average value boost of $12.50/MWh. The highest values are found in constrained regions, like New York’s Long Island, while lower values occur in Texas in certain years of the study period.

Separating generation from storage usually delivers higher value, but it may also deliver higher costs, as a project developer will need multiple sites and grid interconnections, and may lose construction cost savings. While the study does not go in depth on the cost difference between combined and separated resources, a rough estimate found about $15/MWh in cost savings from using a single location.

As developers and policymakers continue to search for the best way to deploy renewables and storage, this consideration of cost and value will be important. However, the relative benefits and costs can vary by market, by time, and by other factors. Depending on conditions, both separate and hybrid projects can pencil out from a system optimization perspective.

The study, along with an accompanying slide deck, can be downloaded here: https://emp.lbl.gov/publications/are-coupled-renewable-battery-power

For questions on the study, feel free to contact Will Gorman at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (510-486-4941, WGorman@lbl.gov).