Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica
One of the biggest challenges facing wind energy is intermittency. Wind often blows strongest when power demand is lowest, and weakest when electricity is needed the most. Because today’s power grid needs electricity to be consumed the moment it’s generated, that means wind turbines send energy to the grid half as often as an average coal plant. What if wind farms could store the power that isn’t needed right away and sell it later when demand is high? energyNOW! correspondent Patty Kim visited an energy storage system built alongside a wind farm in the heart of coal country.

Clean Power

Massive Battery System Captures The Wind

One of the biggest challenges facing wind energy is intermittency. Wind often blows strongest when power demand is lowest, and weakest when electricity is needed the most. Because today’s power grid needs electricity to be consumed the moment it’s generated, that means wind turbines send energy to the grid half as often as an average coal plant.

What if wind farms could store the power that isn’t needed right away and sell it later when demand is high? energyNOW! correspondent Patty Kim visited an energy storage system built alongside a wind farm in the heart of coal country.

AES Battery Storage System

These containers hold 1.3 million batteries

One of the biggest challenges facing wind energy is intermittency. Wind often blows strongest when power demand is lowest, and weakest when electricity is needed the most. Because today’s power grid needs electricity to be consumed the moment it’s generated, that means wind turbines send energy to the grid half as often as an average coal plant.

But what if wind farms could store the power that isn’t needed right away and sell it later when demand is high? energyNOW! correspondent Patty Kim recently visited a monumental new energy storage system recently built alongside a wind farm in the heart of coal country. The full video is available below:

Wind energy has come a long way in the United States. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry that employs 75,000 people in 42 states and generates about 2 percent of the nation’s electricity. And, the Department of Energy says that number could grow to 20 percent of America’s electricity by 2030.

That potential is far from reality, though. And, in order to reach 20 percent, one in five new turbines will have to be built offshore where the wind is faster and more consistent, and offshore wind is yet to be stalled in this country.

Intermittency is a commonly cited problem for renewable energy options, but intermittency is only a problem because the energy industry hasn’t come up with an efficient way to store electricity on a large scale – until now, perhaps.

A massive new battery storage system has sprung up in the heart of coal country, and it could change wind energy forever. AES Corporation, a global power project developer, has built a wind farm of more than 60 turbines spread across twelve miles of West Virginia’s Laurel Mountains. The farm generates enough power for 20,000 homes, and feeds power into the PJM Interconnection regional grid.

But the really impressive aspect of this wind farm is a series of white shipping containers, nondescriptly nestled into the hills, containing 1.3 million lithium ion batteries. Each battery is about the size of a typical C or D cell, and together they provide frequency regulation to the grid. Grid operators at PJM send signals to the battery system every four seconds, telling it to either send the electricity generated by the wind farm onto the grid, or store it for later use when the wind isn’t blowing. “It’s a level of control over power that we haven’t seen,” said Praveen Kathpal, Vice President of Market and Regulatory Affairs for AES Energy Storage.

The storage system technology is impressive, but, for now, its impact is relatively small. The West Virginia project can only hold enough electricity at any one time to power about 5,000 homes for 15 minutes.

“Projects like these are the beginning of a long wave of energy storage projects to come,” said Kathpal. AES says they’re taking the next step in West Texas, where they want to build a second battery project, roughly three times larger than the West Virginia system.

 
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality and cleantech news coverage? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
 

Don't want to miss a cleantech story? Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!
 

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Advertisement
 
Written By

Silvio is Principal at Marcacci Communications, a full-service clean energy and climate policy public relations company based in Oakland, CA.

Comments

You May Also Like

Clean Power

U.S. electricity generation from renewable sources, such as hydropower, wind, and solar, accounted for 20% of electricity generation both in 2020 and in 2021....

Clean Transport

Electric school buses are experiencing rapid growth in the United States, with a nearly 10-fold increase in commitments by school districts and fleet operators in the...

Clean Power

The on-again, off-again climate bill is back, now that West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin is on board, for now.

Clean Power

In Part 1, I explained an alternative approach to looking at Supreme Court cases that don’t go your way. Rather than just be angry...

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.