Jason Barton

Professional Information and Energy News

Improving Energy Storage Tech Is Key

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Due to the high variability of renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar, improving the efficiency of energy storage is essential to the future of our energy matrix. Unlike coal, natural gas, or nuclear power, renewables vary with wind speeds, sunshine, and other uncontrollable factors. This makes our dependence on these resources quite tenuous.

If firms like the one described in the article below can create batteries that can store energy longer, and produce them using materials that are not as rare and unsafe as many used in today’s batteries, we will be in a much better position to power our electricity grid with energy that ebbs and flows.

In Presidio, a Grasp at the Holy Grail of Energy Storage

By KATE GALBRAITH
Published: November 6, 2010

Dozens of gray compartments, lined neatly in rows, inhabit a boxy concrete building on the edge of the impoverished border town of Presidio. The only sound, aside from occasional clanking, is the whirring of air-conditioners to keep the compartments cool.

This $25 million contraption is the largest battery system in the United States — locals have dubbed it Bob, for Big Ole Battery. It began operating earlier this year, and is the latest mark of the state’s interest in a nascent but rapidly evolving industry: the storage of electricity.

Storage is often referred to as the holy grail of energy technology, because it can modernize the grid by more efficiently matching demand for power with the generation of electricity.

[…]

The state is especially keen on storage because of the proliferation of wind turbines in West Texas. The machines generate the most power at night, when people are sleeping — so if their power could be stored for use during the day, the usefulness of wind power, which currently accounts for about 6 percent of the state’s electricity generation, would significantly increase.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

November 8th, 2010 at 12:26 pm