Siemens-Gamesa, the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer is planning to step up the development of battery storage technology.
This will be done along the company’s activities in the wind division, said it’s head, Marcus Tacke.
Tacke said that Siemens Gamesa will make renewable energy sources available on demand, even when the wind was not blowing and the sun was not shining, thereby requiring more resources in storage.
“The missing part is storage,” Tacke said in an interview with the Financial Times. “To unlock the potential growth limitations, that is the piece of technology that needs to be developed.”
He noted that since the cost of wind turbines had come down, it made sense to pair them with solar or storage to create a more consistent source of power.
As part of its push, Siemens Gamesa has invested more in batteries and other types of energy storage, including a hot rock plant (where surplus power is retained by heating rocks) that helps provide power for an aluminium smelter in Hamburg, according to Power Engineering International.
The company is also testing a vanadium redox-flow battery system — a niche technology that some people believe could eventually rival lithium-ion batteries for energy storage — at a research facility in Spain.
“Wind is an industry that needs scale to deliver — to leverage research and development costs, to leverage global spread, to leverage suppliers,” said Tacke. “Volume helps to be competitive in the current environment.”
Tacke added that more consolidation could be on the way for the wind industry, particularly among tier two and tier three suppliers. Prices for wind turbines have fallen sharply over the past decade, and as margins have become thinner the number of turbine manufacturers has also fallen.
Despite global wind installations falling since 2015, according to the Global Wind Energy Council, Mr Tacke said he believed the market would soon return to growth.
The market for offshore wind turbines will grow more than twice as quickly as for onshore wind turbines, according to Tacke, who predicted 13% annual growth offshore, and 5 per cent annual growth onshore.