Published on November 18th, 2008 | by Alex Felsinger30
New Cost-Effective Battery Tested to Store Wind-Power
For the first time in America, a company has developed an efficient battery solution to storing wind power, a clear answer to critics who claim turbines are unreliable.
Xcel Energy‘s “Wind-to-Battery” project is currently being tested on a Minnesota wind farm. The company believes that the 80-ton battery will power 500 homes for 7 hours when fully charged. The battery’s 20 50-kilowatt modules together are roughly the size of two semi- trailers and can store 7.2 megawatt-hours of electricity.
“Energy storage is key to expanding the use of renewable energy,” said Dick Kelly, Xcel Energy Chairman, President and CEO. “This technology has the potential to reduce the impact caused by the variability and limited predictability of wind energy generation. As the nation’s leader in distributing wind energy, this will be very important to both us and our customers.”
The sodium-sulfur battery technology has already been used in a variety of forms in the United States, but Xcel says their pilot program is the first time any practical and efficient battery storage technology has been used on a wind farm.