Siemens-Gamesa, one of the leading manufacturers of wind turbines, is working on a battery storage technology that will make renewable energy sources available on demand.
Marcus Tacke, CEO and executive director, Siemens-Gamesa, said that the company will make renewable energy sources available on demand – “even when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining.”
“The missing part is storage,” Tacke said in an interview with the Financial Times. “To unlock potential growth, that is the piece of technology that needs to be developed.”
He noted that since the cost of wind turbines had come down, it made sense to pair them with solar technologies to create a more consistent source of power.
Siemens Gamesa has of late invested more in batteries and other types of energy storage storage, including a hot rock plant, which retains surplus power by heating rocks.
The hot rock plant is currently being used to provide power for an aluminium smelter in Hamburg, according to Power Engineering International.
The company is also testing a vanadium redox-flow battery system, a niche technology that some people believe could eventually rival lithium-ion batteries for energy storage, at a research facility in Spain.
“Wind is an industry that needs scale to deliver — to leverage research and development costs, to leverage global spread, to leverage suppliers,” said Tacke. “Volume helps to be competitive in the current environment.”
Tacke added that more consolidation could be on the way for the wind industry, particularly among tier two and tier three suppliers. Prices for wind turbines have fallen sharply over the past decade, and as margins have become thinner the number of turbine manufacturers has also fallen.
Despite global wind installations falling since 2015 according to the Global Wind Energy Council, Tacke said he believed the market would soon return to growth.
According to him, the market for offshore wind turbines will grow more than twice as quickly as for onshore wind turbines. He has predicted an annual growth of 13% for offshore, and an annual growth of 5% for onshore.