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Tag Archives: energy storage

Filling the GAP

By Dave Elliott

A group of UK notables, including Sir David King, Lord John Browne, Lord Nicholas Stern and Lord Martin Ryle, has launched a proposal for a 10 year Global Apollo Programme of science-led research and development (R&D) to develop clean energy technology fast to combat climate change. One of the other proposers, former Cabinet Secretary Lord O’Donnell, told BBC News: ‘People never believed we could put a man on the Moon – but we did. People don’t believe we can solve climate change – but we have no choice.’ (more…)

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Energy storage – new views, Part 2

By Dave Elliott

In addition to its large-scale grid balancing role, which I looked at in my last post, energy storage may also play a role at the consumer level, with batteries allowing solar PV-using ‘prosumers’ to provide their own backup. Some see this as a possible new type of distributed storage capacity and also, more radically, as further challenging the market power of the big utilities (much of the 75GW of wind and PV in Germany is now owned by local consumers and energy co-ops), even to the point when grid systems are redundant. This may be overstated, but some more movement in that direction may be occurring in Germany and the US as batteries get cheaper.   (more…)

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Energy storage – new ideas Part 1

By Dave Elliott

Energy storage is usually seen as a very good idea – it would help cope with variable renewables. Indeed some enthusiasts now even say that cheap battery storage will make PV solar so viable at the domestic level we may not need grid power!  Or even grids!  That seems unlikely – they help to balance variable demand  with  supply  from a range of sources near and far. But one thing is clear – energy storage, large and small scale, is becoming a big issue, with many new ideas emerging.    (more…)

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Balancing variable renewables

By Dave Elliott

There is now a range of books looking at the technical and policy options available for managing the use of variable energy resources such as wind and solar energy. The pioneering text in this area was Earthscan’s “Renewable Electricity and the Grid” from 2007, edited by Godfrey Boyle , with contributions from many of the UK top experts. But the field has since expanded with, for example, a lot of new work being done in the US. (more…)

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Vehicle to grid balancing

By Dave Elliott

The vehicle to grid (V2G) debate continues, offering a way to balance variable renewables and also demand peaks, by using the batteries of electric vehicles, linked to the grid when parked at home, to store excess power during low demand periods, ready to export when demand is high and renewables low. It sounds a clever idea but in addition to economic issues (e.g. the extra costs of the home-based power uploading system) it opens up some interesting logistical issues. (more…)

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PV solar – is that all we need?

By Dave Elliott

PV solar is booming, as I noted in my last post, with over 130 GW in place globally and some see it as overtaking all other renewables, with prices falling dramatically. Indeed a new study “The Economics of Grid Defection” by the US Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) says that PV solar and new cheap battery technology will soon mean that we won’t need power grids. (more…)

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In praise of wind power

By Dave Elliott

This year has seen yet more negativity on wind power, and proposals to cut support for on -land wind, despite this being the cheapest of the major new renewables. While overall public support for the use of wind energy remains high, in practice many new on-land projects are now opposed: two thirds of applications have been turned down in the last year. Much of this has been about visual intrusion, ‘Not In My Back Yard’ concerns relating to  treasured views and, more prosaically, possible impacts on house prices. (more…)

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Solar heating, cooling and storage

By Dave Elliott

Solar thermal and solar electricity technologies are inevitably in competition for roof space. In terms of cost/kW, PV cost more, but, at the domestic scale, heat may have lower value than electricity – electricity prices are high and heat can at present be more economically provided conventionally by natural gas. It’s a similar story when looking at an up and coming idea – solar cooling. In hot climates that is beginning to make a lot of sense. But PV electricity to run air con units is often competitive with mains power at peak cooling times, whereas using solar thermal heat to run absorption chillers is more expensive – they need much higher temperatures (well over 100 C) than for space or water heating. See Sun and Wind Energy 7-8-13.

(more…)

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Undersea energy storage

By Dave Elliott

In my previous post, I looked at airborne wind power devices, which some see as a big new energy option. One major attraction is that tapping the high speed jet streams offers access to a much more continuous and reliable energy flow than using surface level winds. It means that the problems of intermittency can be resolved without having to resort to energy storage or complex grid balancing systems. But if ‘flying wind turbines’ sound too much like ‘Blue Sky’ thinking, then, coming down to earth, or rather under the sea, there are some new large-scale storage ideas, although they too are quite exotic. They involve giant underwater compressed air storage systems.

(more…)

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Tidal power – and energy storage

By Dave Elliott

Tidal energy is developing relatively slowly, but has a significant potential. Although two large tidal barrages now exists  (with 240 MW units in France and South Korea), the emphasis is on free-standing tidal current turbines, which  harvest the horizontal flow of the tides, rather than trapping tide rises behind dams, as with barrages. So the environmental impact is likely to be much less. They can also be installed relatively quickly, one by one, so reducing project finance problems. The 6th Tidal Summit, organised by TidalToday in Nov 2012, reviewed the scene, with a key issue being the need to get costs down. DECC said they has to get to down below £100/MWh by around 2025.

(more…)

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