Vestas taps car battery know-how for wind power storage

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The world’s largest wind turbine maker Vestas is tapping into experience from the car battery industry to try to address the challenge of using erratic wind and solar energy to meet a growing share of power demand.

Energy storage is becoming increasingly important as production of renewable energy rises, because the wind might not blow or the sun shine during the peak hours when most consumers turns on their lights and appliances.

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, according to Reuters.

As part of this, it invested 10 million euros ($12 million) in battery manufacturer Northvolt, which aims to build Europe’s biggest battery cell plant with the backing of investors such as Volkswagen-owned truckmaker 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.

Vestas is partnering with Sweden’s Northvolt, headed by former Tesla executive Peter Carlsson, 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.

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