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07 May 2013: Battery-Equipped Wind Turbine
Better Integrates Green Energy Onto Grid

General Electric recently introduced a wind turbine equipped with a storage battery, creating a type of “hybrid” turbine that industry leaders hope will improve the integration of intermittent energy sources onto the grid and reduce the costs of wind power. The GE battery is able to store less than one minute of the turbine’s energy potential, but by pairing the battery with advanced wind-forecasting algorithms, wind farm operators could guarantee a certain amount of power output for up to an hour, MIT’s Technology Review reports. Even small amounts of storage are able to compensate for rapid changes in output from renewable sources — such as when wind speeds fall — and thus exert less stress on conventional power plants in responding to the variability of wind and solar. This flexibility will become increasingly important as renewable energy accounts for a greater share of grid capacity, since major shifts in output can trigger voltage problems or blackouts. If batteries at wind farms eventually contain even 15 minutes of storage capacity, that will allow grid operators time to alter the output from conventional plants and prevent major problems, energy consultant Richard Fioravanti told Technology Review.

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