Posts Tagged ‘wind’

Compressed Air Energy Storage Catching On

Friday, January 8th, 2010

Last year we brought you news about Pacific Gas & Electric using compressed air energy storage to solve energy needs.  Now it seems Southwest Solar Technologies is taking it a step further.  Instead of just using wind turbines, it will combine, wind, solar, and other renewable energy resources to make renewable energy grid ready.

If you are not familiar with the technology, it basically uses off peak and surplus energy to power giant compressors that will fill salt caverns with air.  When power is at a greater demand than what is being produced, or in the case of solar, the renewable energy is not available, it will use the air pressure in the caverns to power the generators to produce electricity.

Traditional power plants like a 110 MW plant in McIntosh, Alabama have used this technology successfully for 16 years.  It seems the transition to a renewable source would be the next logical evolution in renewable energy.


Compressed Air Energy Storage

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

compresssed-air-energy-storagePacific Gas & Electric has resorted to an older technology to make wind power more effective.  The wind can be unpredictable in terms of when and how hard it blows, and the unpredictability presents a problem for the grid.

PG&E will use the off-peak electricity produced by the turbines to run air compressors that will be used to fill underground caves or caverns left from mining.  When the wind is not blowing as hard or at peak times, the electricity will then be released to a turbine that will then create the extra electricity to meet the grid’s demand.

Another benefit is in terms of cost.  Currently, wind power is more expensive than energy produced at traditional power plants.  This is reflected in the price per kilowatt hour for the consumer hindering many people from switching to environmentally friendly energy.  The compressed air technology will make wind power less expensive and more competitive in the open market allowing more consumers to make the switch.

This is actually a twist on a old idea.  In Huntdorf, Germany, a traditional 290MW power plant will produce extra off peak electricity and store it in the form of air compression, and release it during peak times.  The Huntdorf plant has been in operation for over 25 years.

The compressed air technology has not been tested with wind turbines, but the transition should not pose and problems.


120 Megawatt Wind Powerplant in Ethiopia

Friday, October 17th, 2008

Ethiopia started building the right way.  They have in the past relied on hydroelectric dams for power, but with the severe drought they are facing, they have turned to another renewable resource for energy.  They have announced the building of the largest wind farm in Africa costing 220 million euros.  When it is finished, it will be able to produce 120 megawatts and will supply 15% of the nation’s energy.

The Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation’s chairman Meheret Debebe has stated that the new wind power project “will help us to fill the gap of hydrological risks we are facing in Ethiopia with the droughts”.  This is a significant landmark for other developing countries to build renewable energy infrastructures.

via greenweb