Batteries Included: Top 10 Findings from Berkeley Lab Research on the Growth of Hybrid Power Plants in the United States

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One of the most important electric power system trends of the 2010s was the rapid deployment of wind turbines and photovoltaic arrays, but a twist for the 2020s may be the rapid deployment of ‘hybrid’ generation resources. Hybrid power plants typically combine solar or wind (or other energy sources) with co-located storage. While hybridization helps to ease the challenge of balancing variable supply and demand, its relative novelty means that research is needed to facilitate integration and promote innovation. Combining the characteristics of multiple energy, storage, and conversion technologies poses complex questions for grid operations and economics. Project developers, system operators, planners, and regulators would benefit from better data, methods, and tools to estimate the costs, values, and system impacts of hybrid projects. This publication showcases some of Berkeley Lab’s robust research program intended to support private- and public-sector decision-making about hybrid plants in the United States. Our short briefing summarizes articles that we published between 2020 and 2022, links to the in-depth reports, and provides contact details for further engagement on the specific research topics:

Growth: Developer interest in hybrid power plants is strong and growing

Price vs. Value: PV+storage hybrids have low PPA prices and high value in some regions

Market Drivers: Solar hybridization is driven by tax credits and other benefits

Configuration Choices: Market prices have incentivized shorter duration batteries with PV

Capacity Value: The capacity contribution of a hybrid is less than the sum of its parts

Ancillary Services: AS markets are a valuable yet fleeting option for hybrids

Market Participation: Hybrids can more flexibly engage with electricity markets

Operations: The power system value of hybrids depends on how they are operated

Distributed Hybrids: Growth of customer-sited PV+storage hybrids offers new opportunities

Future Research: Where next? Priority areas for hybrid power research

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