Batteries make offshore wind energy debut

June 27 (UPI) — The first battery used to store energy from wind power from a facility offshore Scotland was installed Wednesday, Norwegian energy company Equnior said.

Equinor, formerly known as Statoil, started handing out contracts to deliver a 1 megawatt Lithium battery storage system for the Hywind wind farm off the Scottish coast last year. The company said Wednesday the system was connected so that Hywind power could move through submarine cables to the battery storage facility and then onto the Scottish grid.

“As the wind is not always blowing energy storage technologies like batteries and other ways of storing electricity, is expected to become increasingly important to secure grid stability,” the company’s statement read.

Reliability for variable sources of energy like wind and solar power are a concern. U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry last year called for an investigation into the resilience and reliability of the nation’s energy grid. With renewable resources like solar and wind deemed variable because of the nature of their power origins, the U.S. secretary said the issue was a critical one.

For Equinor, the battery component for wind energy adds support to its efforts to complement its oil and gas portfolio with “profitable renewable energy.” The company took “oil” out of its name earlier this year to reflect a changing energy business landscape.

Sebastian Bringsvaerd, a development manager for Hywind and Batwind at Equinor, said the facility could serve as a teaching ground for the emergence of battery storage systems for wind.

“We want to teach the battery when to hold back and store electricity, and when send power to the grid, thus increasing value of the power,” he said in a statement. “The value in storage is not necessarily in the amount of energy you can store, but how you optimize, control and offer smarter energy solutions.”