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Vestas invests €10M to develop battery storage for wind power projects

Vestas Wind Systems A/S is putting €10 million into a partnership with Swedish battery maker Northvolt Ab to develop lithium-ion battery storage for Vestas' wind power plants.

As part of a seven-year-agreement, Vestas will put capital toward joint research and product development, the Danish wind turbine manufacturer announced Dec. 15. The €10 million investment also includes a small equity share in Northvolt that will be used to scale up its product demonstration line and research facility, Vestas Vice President of Communications Andrew Hilton said in an email.

Vestas said it hopes that the energy storage solution for onshore wind turbines will address some of the lingering challenges of integrating renewables into power grids now that clean energy sources have become cost-competitive with fossil fuels. Battery-based energy storage systems' installation costs could be cut by more than half by 2030 to between $145/kWh and $480/kWh, according to recent research from the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Northvolt is not the first battery storage partner the company has had; the turbine maker has been working with Tesla Inc. to build a $160 million, 60-MW wind, solar and storage hybrid project in Australia. The partnership also gets into a market that Vestas' biggest turbine competitor, General Electric Co., has been in since 2013.

"Battery storage is a key technology to support the large-scale integration of renewable energy into energy systems and to speed up the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy," the company said in a statement.

For Northvolt, the research and development center dubbed Northvolt Labs will be the first step before the company starts building its large-scale battery factory, the company's communications director, Jesper Wigardt, said in an email. Northvolt Labs, located just outside Stockholm, is projected to be in operation in 2019. Northvolt will start building its battery factory in the second half of 2018 and have it in partial operation by 2020, Wigardt said.