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Posts tagged “energy storage”

By Robert Rapier on Jun 9, 2014 with 114 responses

When the Wind Doesn’t Blow

Hawi Wind Farm

Every morning after I wake up, I have a routine. The first thing I do, regardless of how sleepy I might still be, is slip on my shoes and run a mile. This erases the fog of sleep and gets me ready for the day. As an aside, I can highly recommend a quick run in the morning for just about everyone. The time commitment is minimal, it’s good for the heart, helps with stress, and it kicks the brain into high gear much faster than a cup of coffee can (which I still have later in the morning).

When I am traveling, I will often use a hotel treadmill, and catch up on the news for a few minutes as I run. But when I am in Hawaii, I run outdoors in all but the worst weather. The town I live in — near the north end of the Big Island — is known for the wind. In fact, the school mascot where my children have attended school for the past five years is “Ka Makani”, which means “the wind” in Hawaiian. There is a 10.6 megawatt (MW) wind farm — Hawi Renewable Development Wind Farm  (shown in the picture above) — 20 miles north of where I live.

While the wind there blows enough to support a wind farm, and more often than not I have to run against it during some part of my run, on some mornings everything is dead still. On those mornings, I know I can look to the west and see black smoke rising into the sky. CONTINUE»

By Robert Rapier on May 17, 2012 with 44 responses

The Most Important Problem in Renewable Energy — R-Squared Energy TV Ep. 22

In this week’s episode of R-Squared Energy TV, I answer a question about the artificial leaf being worked on by Daniel Nocera at MIT. I discuss the strengths and weaknesses of various storage schemes, and explain why I believe storage is the most important problem in renewable energy.


By Samuel R. Avro on Aug 17, 2010 with 8 responses

Obama: Clean Energy Policy Will Lead to 800,000 Jobs in 2 Years

Obama harshly criticized his political opponents for attempting to block the administration’s clean energy policies in Congress.

By Robert Rapier on Jul 19, 2009 with no responses

Overview of Electricity Storage Technology and India’s Renewable Energy Goals

There is a good overview in today’s Guardian regarding the status of affairs with respect to electricity storage technologies: The challenge for green energy: how to store excess electricity So with grid parity now looming, finding ways to store millions of watts of excess electricity for times when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine is the new Holy Grail. And there are signs that this goal — the day when large-scale energy storage becomes practical and cost-effective — might be within reach, as well. Some technologies that can store sizeable amounts of intermittent power are already deployed. Others, including at least a few with great promise, lie somewhere over the technological horizon. I have used the “Holy… Continue»

By Samuel R. Avro on Apr 22, 2009 with no responses

Germany To Build World’s First Hybrid Power Plant

Will be the world’s first power station to produce clean energy, heat, and hydrogen capable of being stored for use at a later time.

By Robert Rapier on Feb 25, 2008 with no responses

Investing in Energy Storage

I attended a presentation last year where a number of alternative energy technologies were discussed, and I was asked whether any major topic had been missed. I responded that I felt like the single most important topic had been missed: The enabling technology of energy storage. An efficient and cost effective energy storage solution is critical for smoothing out the intermittency of solar, wind, and tidal energy. This is the one advantage that biomass does have over these sources: Biomass may be inefficient at gathering solar energy, but it does store nicely. How important is energy storage? I think it is absolutely crucial, but largely overlooked in alternative energy discussions. It simply isn’t as sexy as solar, but without a… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jul 16, 2007 with no responses

Storing Renewable Energy

First, thanks to all who provided input for the renewable diesel essay. The comments were useful, and will help me to strengthen the chapter. Second, I had said that today I would comment on Benjamin Cole’s Seamless Transition to a Post-Fossil Economy. Frankly, I think other readers adequately addressed this, and even Benjamin realizes that a seamless transition is unlikely. So I will leave that one as is. One of my major interests is storage systems for renewable energy options that would be characterized as intermittent. Solar and wind would fall into this category, and their intermittency really limits their ultimate potential. If wind turbines must be backed up by coal-fired power plants, it lessens the benefit. Therefore, the development… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on May 14, 2006 with 5 responses

Compressed Air Energy Storage

I have always been a big fan of wind power. But one of the knocks on wind is that it is intermittent. Since electrical demand probably won’t match up very well with wind fluctuations, installed wind capacity does not displace conventional power generation in a 1 to 1 ratio. For example, I have seen it claimed that 2,000 megawatts of installed wind energy still requires 1,800 megawatts of standby power for when the wind isn’t blowing. (1) Clearly a storage system is needed. During times of high wind flow and low demand, the excess energy could be stored in something akin to a giant battery. When the wind isn’t blowing, users would pull from the “battery”. I have given a… Continue»