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Hybrid power plants

Nicholas Newman eniday October 2017
Hybrid power power plant

Hybrid cars and buses are growing in importance in the transportation sector. Still in the pioneering stage are hybrid power plants, which utilize several different power generation technologies, such as diesel, biogas, gas, solar and wind, often integrated or combined with some form of energy storage…

A hybrid power plant can occupy a single site or comprise a microgrid with several different types of generation working as an integrated unit. While some plants are grid-connected and used primarily to supplement power supplies, others are located in remote areas, far from the grid, and are the main source of power.
For operators, energy security, lower cost and functionality are the main attractions. For example, where batteries are included, surplus renewable power can be stored for later use, sold to the grid or converted into steam to supply district heating. For energy intensive industrial processes such as smelters or remote mining operations, hybrid power plants offer a competitive power supply independent of the grid.

What is hybrid power?

Hybrid power plants offer a range of capacities and combinations of feedstock. Typically, hybrid power plants use a fossil fuel such as diesel or gas, supplemented with a renewable energy source such as solar. Some, combine renewable sources with battery storage in order to minimize consumption of expensive diesel or oil. A case in point is the planned construction of several combined diesel-solar hybrid plants in Russia’s Far East as part of concerted efforts to reduce diesel usage.
A ground breaking renewable-only hybrid is Nevada’s Stillwater power plant, the first triple-hybrid facility in the world, combining geothermal, photovoltaic and solar thermal power generation. However, there is a worldwide trend for natural gas to replace diesel and, with the substantial decline in the cost of batteries, to employ batteries to store surplus power for later use. The main customers of hybrid power plants include telecommunications companies, mine operators and remote rural communities. Read more

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