What are they?
Hybrid power plants are power generation systems that combine a form of electricity generation with battery storage at the same location. Hybrid power plants generally consist of renewable energy technologies such as solar panels or wind turbines paired with energy storage facilities. The solar panels and wind turbines generate electricity while the sun is shining and the wind is blowing and any excess is stored in the battery. Then, when there is no sunlight or at times when there is little wind in the area, energy reserves held in the battery storage are released, providing electricity to consumers as needed.
Why are they important?
Hybrid power plants are important because they greatly enhance the reliability of the power grid by producing energy in a predictable and controllable manner while delivering inexpensive electricity to customers. Hybrid projects make up for the variability in renewable energy generation by storing excess power and releasing it when power generation is low. This makes the grid more reliable by ensuring that there is a constant stream of clean power available, even when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining.
In addition to improving the overall reliability of the grid, hybrid power plants are also uniquely beneficial to remote areas and rural locations where there is a lack of infrastructure and limited access to the electric grid. In these locations, the hybrid power plants can be stand-alone power systems that are able to act as "mini-grids" to generate, store and provide clean energy to residents who wouldn't otherwise have access.
For more information, check out our blog post, Hybird Power Plants are Here to Stay!