Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Saving wind power for later

Wind power is intermittent. One day the wind blows, the next day it doesn't, and often the days you need power the most, on hot days, are also the ones with the least wind available. Hence it's desirable to find a way to store the power generated by the wind, the question is what's the best way of doing so. Many who oppose wind power use this intermittency as a flaw of wind power, and use that flaw as a weapon against the deployment of wind power.

While this is a flaw of wind power it's not an unsolvable problem. Instead it's just a matter of engineering a way to store power.

General Compression is a company developing one means to store wind power. In their design the tower does not have a generator at the top, but an air compressor. The air compressor sends compressed air down the tower and that compressed air can be stored in tanks, in underground caverns, or piped to remote locations. The compressed air is released as needed to power turbines which generate electricity.

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