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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Hybrid Power Plants: Status of Installed and Proposed Projects

  • Author(s): Wiser, Ryan H
  • Bolinger, Mark
  • Gorman, Will
  • Rand, Joseph
  • Jeong, Seongeun
  • Seel, Joachim
  • Warner, Cody
  • Paulos, Ben
  • et al.

As battery prices fall and wind and solar generation rises, power plant developers are increasingly combining wind and solar projects with on-site batteries, creating “hybrid” power plants. But hybrid or co-located plants have been part of the U.S. electricity mix for decades, with widely ranging configurations that extend beyond pairing a generator with a battery. This new summary tracks and maps existing hybrid and co-located plants across the United States while also synthesizing data from generation interconnection queues to illustrate developer interest in the next wave of plants. The scope is inclusive of co-located hybrid plants that pair two or more generators and/or that pair generation with storage at a single point of interconnection, and also full hybrids that feature co-location and co-control. The focus is on larger, 1 MW+ systems: smaller (often behind-the-meter) projects are also increasingly common, but are not included in the data synthesis. Based in part on EIA Form 860 data, there were at least 125 co-located hybrid plants (>1 MW) already operating across the United States at the end of 2019, totaling over 14 GW of aggregate capacity. Some of the most common configurations include wind+storage (13 projects, 1,290 MW wind, 184 MW storage), PV+storage (40 projects, 882 MW PV, 169 MW storage), and fossil+storage (10 projects, 2,414 MW fossil, 91 MW storage). Data from interconnection queues demonstrates the considerable commercial interest that exists in hybrid power plants, especially solar co-located with storage. By the end of 2019, there were at least 367 GW of solar plants in the nation’s queues; 102 GW (~28%) of this capacity was proposed as a hybrid, most typically pairing PV with battery storage. For wind, 225 GW of capacity sat in the queues, with 11 GW (~5%) proposed as a hybrid, again most-often pairing wind with storage. The proposed solar+storage plants are located throughout the United States, but with California and the non-ISO West being the most prominent areas of commercial interest. Proposed wind+storage and standalone storage plants also center to a degree on these regions of the country.

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