An integrated energy storage scheme for a dispatchable wind and solar powered energy system



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Wind and solar technologies have experienced rapid market growth recently as a result of the growing interest for implementation of renewable energy. However, the intermittency of wind and solar power is a major obstacle to their broader use. The additional risks of unexpected interruptions and mismatch with demand have hindered the expansion of these two primary renewable resources.

The goal of this research is to analyze an integrated energy system that includes a novel configuration of wind and solar coupled with two storage methods to make both wind and solar sources dispatchable during peak demand, thereby enabling their broader use. Named DSWiSS for Dispatchable Solar Wind Storage System, the proposed system utilizes compressed air energy storage (CAES) that is driven from wind energy and thermal storage supplied by concentrating solar thermal power in order to achieve this desired dispatchability. Although DSWiSS mimics the operation of a typical CAES facility, the replacement of energy derived from fossil fuels with energy generated from renewable resources makes this system unique. While current CAES facilities use off peak electricity to power their compressors, this system uses power from wind turbines. Also, rather than using natural gas for heating of the compressed air before its expansion through a turbine, DSWiSS uses solar thermal energy and thermal storage.

For this research, two models were created; the first is a dynamic model of a 1.5 MW variable speed wind turbine, programmed in PSCAD/EMTDC, that utilizes rotor resistive control to maintain rated power output. This model simulates the dynamic response of the wind turbine to changing wind conditions as well as the nominal performance parameters at all wind speeds. The second model is a steady state thermodynamic simulation of the turbomachinery power unit in the DSWiSS facility. By assuming conditions similar to those of a currently operating CAES facility in McIntosh, Alabama, the model calculates the performance parameters of DSWiSS and estimates the relative energy input requirements. By combining these models with a levelized lifetime cost analysis estimates of the power system performance and the cost of energy for the DSWiSS facility were estimated. The combination of these components yielded an efficiency greater than 46% for the main power block and a nearly equal utilization of both renewable resources. It was also estimated that the overall system is only slightly more expensive per unit of electricity generated than the current technologies employed today, namely coal, nuclear, and natural gas, but is comparable to a stand-alone solar thermal facility. However, this economic analysis, though accurate with regard to the technologies chosen, will not be complete until cost values can be placed on some of the externalities associated with power generation such as fuel cost volatility, national security, and emissions.