Friday, 11 December 2009

Why large scale solar / wind power will turn to stored power sooner

Spotted over at Silent Energy Blog

Victor Babbitt who works in the field of large scale batteries within wind and solar energy applications reveals the current 'problem' with many large scale solar and wind power farms - namely that the require a co2 chugging generator to control the power and make it usable within the grid system.

Because you can't 'dial-up' a solar plant and say "I'd like 45MW between 10 and 2 today" as Victor points out, you can't rely on the sun to be shining at that moment.

The solution is either a regulating generator or large scale batteries to store the immediate power and release it steadily into the grid system.

There's lots of facts and figures quoted and much of it center's on a study which states that the USA can reach a 20% integration of renewables without needing energy storage.

Victor Babbitt asks at what cost and makes the case for why the industry is re-thinking it's policy on stored energy.

This quote really brings home the importance of the issue: "Yet, many wind farms are presently being curtailed because ERCOT can’t use the power they produce at the time they produce it. They are actually shutting down wind farms in preference of burning coal and gas. I am personally working with some of these Texas wind farms being curtailed as much as 20% of the time. So at 3.5% wind penetration we have serious issues on a grid that supplies 13% of the nations needs. Seems like there is more work to do here."

More work to do indeed.

photo credit: razor512

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