Hybrid Power

Team Details

Variability in Solar and Wind generation has emerged as a concern in large-scale adoption of renewables, especially after it contributes a major share in the energy mix. Hybridizations of wind and solar plant is developing a solution which will reduce this variability due to complementary nature of their generation profile - solar generation is higher during the day, while wind generation can be higher in the night.

Hybrid projects would also have much higher capacity utilization, thus removing the intermittency challenge. Such projects also enjoy the additional benefit of a reduction in costs associated with sharing transmission lines. Peak balancing through gas and hydro generation shifting, demand management, smarter grids, electric vehicles as well as storage solutions including battery, pumped hydro and others are expected to further help out in smoothening out the variability cause due to nature of renewable energy supply.

Types of Hybrid Electrical Power

Leaving aside hybrid installations with diesel generators, the most common types of hybrid electrical power combinations are:

  • Photovoltaic + Wind

  • Photovoltaic + Hydraulic

  • Hydraulic + Wind

  • Solar Thermal + Biomass

Also, a hybrid generation plant can be created from scratch or, more commonly, an existing plant can be hybridized, adding a new module from another source to the existing generation technology.

Regulation and Hybrid Electrical Power

As electricity generation from the hybridization of renewables is a recent development, specific regulation on the subject is still scarce almost all over the world. India is one of the pioneering countries in this regard. Since 2017, it has had a specific policy aimed at providing a framework for the promotion of large wind-photovoltaic hybrid systems.

Hybrid generation plants are also emerging in Australia, driven by tightening grid requirements. In most European countries, in terms of legal requirements, photovoltaic-wind power plants are not usually treated differently from other technologies.

However, countries such as Spain, Portugal, and Ireland have already taken steps to develop this type of plant. In the case of Spain, a decree law has been passed that allows the transformation of a normal plant into a hybrid plant with less time to receive government approval. In the case of new installations, the guarantees for lower-power energy are reduced, with the aim of facilitating their implementation.

The main development in recent years has been the decision to make this type of plant a unique resource for areas far from large cities. These places are the most affected by rising costs, and in this way, they solve their problem in a self-sufficient way. In Germany, the United States, and India, mixed energy auctions are also currently being held, for which hybrid plants are the main beneficiaries.

Internationally, these are developers' main requirements of regulatory bodies in order to maximize the potential for hybridizations:

  • A clear regulatory framework, starting with a definition of the different hybrid generation plants.

  • Standardization of requirements relating to grid connection and measurement and traceability procedures for renewable energy in hybridization projects.

  • When an existing plant is hybridized, developers should be able to install a total renewable energy capacity greater than the agreed grid connection capacity.

Our Hybrid Projects

In recent years, hybrid energy has begun to play a key role in Iberdrola's green energy projects. This is the case of Port Augusta in Australia, the company's first wind-solar hybrid project, which is already an operational facility. 50 wind turbines and 250,000 solar panels will help increase the amount of renewable energy in the country.

In addition to this plant, we are also working on several projects that will bring hybrid energy to two more continents. In Brazil, there is already the Cha Fariz Renewable Energy complex, while in Spain we are currently working on the creation of two photovoltaic plants within the Ballista’s and Cashton (BaCa) wind power complex.

Advantages of Hybrid Energy

The renewable energy sector is in a constant process of innovation to increase its efficiency, competitiveness, and to protect the health of the planet. The main advantages of hybrid projects include:

  • Increased capacity factor in the access point of the hybrid plant thanks to the complementarity of the load curves of both technologies.

  • Switching between sources when one is inactive reduces the unpredictability inherent in renewable energy and improves the stability of the electricity supplied. Thus, the power on the supply point is ensured.

  • Optimization on the use of electric infrastructures, involving synergies on O&M and CAPEX.

  • Speeding up connection times and the commissioning of new renewable generation plants if there is no need to apply for a new access point.