Saturday, April 16, 2011

Power storage tech

One of the major problems in renewable energy generation is the storage problem. Until recently there were few cost-effective solutions. Pumped hydro power storage was really the only large scale solution.

But a new announcement suggests that dry cell battery technology may have come of age for storage. If this technology does prove commercially viable, if it stands the market test of time, then it has much meaning for Maine wind and solar planning, for our remote off-grid islands (Monhegan), or end of the transmission line islands (Vinalhaven), and for planned or proposed, grid-connected, renewable energy capital projects such as DeepCWind or Grid Solar.

(The latter a good idea now moribund for various reasons political and legal.)

Cost effective grid-scale storage will add to our ability to harden the grid against interruption, add to our ability to use renewables, not only for power but also for oil-free heat, and reduce the need for transmission line building.

The new trick will be to include the new technology in cost analysis, especially taking the temporal variable into account.

I would definitely think our friends at Fox Islands Electric Cooperative would like to know how much the new systems cost.

It sounds like it might be around a million dollars a megawatt-hour. When you consider that turbines cost around three million dollars a megawatt of rated output, there's going to be a whole new cost analysis to do to work out how many dry cells you need per turbine to get the best price or value for your power.

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