Danish wind giant Vestas is continuing to develop its understanding of battery storage as a means of better optimizing its wind and solar power portfolio.

The world’s largest wind turbine maker Vestas is using knowledge accumulated from its relationships with the car battery industry to try to address the challenge of using intermittent renewables for greater share of the power mix.
In order to bring down cost of renewable energy and help grid operators balance intermittent output, Vestas last year said it would work to combine wind, solar and battery storage technology.

As part of this, it invested $12m in battery manufacturer Northvolt, which aims to build Europe’s biggest battery cell plant with the backing of investors such as Volkswagen-owned truck-maker Scania.

“We can piggyback on all the research they do with batteries for cars and get an excellent industry battery at the same time,” Vestas chairman Bert Nordberg told Reuters.

Sweden’s Northvolt, headed by former Tesla executive Peter Carlsson, is partnering with Vestas to develop a lithium-ion battery for power plants of the future.

Battery costs have traditionally been high, but the technology is becoming increasingly viable as automakers such as BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen and Volvo Car Group ramp up electric car production.

Nordberg said the investment into Northvolt meant Vestas could demand development and research into the kind of battery storage it is interested in, and would also be able to place people there.

Vestas is also working with bigger players such as US electric carmaker Tesla, whose batteries it plans to use in the world’s first utility-scale project for this technology to store power from both wind and solar sources.

“The output from solar and wind is very intermittent and we need to even that out,” Nordberg said.

Vestas will continue to make acquisitions within storage and hybrid energy solutions, he said, but declined to say how much it might spend or which targets it was considering.