Citing a natural complementarity, and a desire to maximize all renewable energy opportunities toward a 2050 net zero target, Glasgow-based utility ScottishPower is planning to harness the solar potential at its onshore wind farms by covering the ground beneath its turbines with solar+storage systems.
The subsidiary of Spanish utility giant Iberdola has “applied for permission to build its first solar power projects beneath the blades of its existing wind farms in Cornwall, Lancashire, and Coldham,” reports The Guardian. It’s planning to make hybrid renewables the future of its onshore wind farm business in Scotland and Ireland, as well, wherever terrain will permit.
“Every green megawatt of electricity will be crucial if we stand any chance of hitting net zero in 2050,” said ScottishPower CEO Keith Anderson. “This means squeezing the absolute maximum potential out of every clean energy project we consider.”
In the new species of small wind farm ScottishPower is proposing, “adding 10 MW panels and 10 MW of energy storage could double the green energy capacity” of the system, The Guardian notes. Anderson said that potential owes in part to the complementarity of turbines and panels.
“They perform best at different times of the day and at different times of the year,” he told the paper.
Noting that ScottishPower has “more than 1,000 MW of new onshore wind capacity” under development, the Guardian adds that “the UK will need to build at least this capacity of onshore wind every year for the next three decades if it hopes to meet its 2050 climate targets.”