Published on December 8th, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan10
Farmers Turning Wind Into Cash
December 8th, 2014 by Zachary Shahan
Wind power is one of our favorite topics. It’s often the cheapest option for new electricity generation, and it may well be the greenest. It is comparable to solar on greenhouse gas emissions, and uses even less water than solar (0.001 gallons per kWh vs 0.030 gallons per kWh), and hundreds of times less than fossil fuel and nuclear power plants per kWh. Of course, it doesn’t emit any air pollution.
The fact that it doesn’t pollute their air and doesn’t use precious water supplies are good things for farmers who are serendipitously located where wind resources are strong, but much more than that, the farmers love that they can make some serious cash with wind turbines on their properties… and while sitting on their couches rather than messing with manure.
We’ve seen this story pop up several times when it comes to farmers in the US Midwest, Texas, and elsewhere. However, this story isn’t unique to The New World. In Germany, for example, a group of 200 forward-thinkers, or “energy pioneers,” are turning wind into cash in a northern hamlet far away from the hustle & bustle of global cities like Munich, Berlin, and Frankfurt.
Utilizing Bosch* technology, they are “sowing wind” and “harvesting power,” so to speak. The effort was led by Jan Martin Hansen, who dreamt of somehow harnessing his region’s tremendous wind energy resources. At a time when farmers were struggling to make ends meet, and a time when wind technology had come down enough that it was competitive with other sources of electricity generation, Hansen’s idea was for the citizens of Braderup to fund and benefit from a wind farm and energy storage system.
“A lot of them thought we were nuts at first,” Hansen chuckled while speaking of the citizens, politicians, and bankers who took longer to convince of the project. “But we sure showed them!”
Bosch provided the battery technology, and the wind farm went into service in July of this year. I’m sure our readers are interested in more of the specifics of the battery storage system. Bosch writes: “The heart of the facility is a hybrid system made up of two batteries: a lithium-ion component (pictured on the left) and a vanadium redox flow unit. This ‘power couple’ is capable of both short- and long-term energy storage.” It can store enough power that, even if the wind didn’t blow for a week straight, it could supply electricity for 40 single-family homes in the area. Here’s more information Bosch sent to me upon request:
The storage facility, which is to be situated on former farmland, has a total output of 2,325 kilowatts and a total capacity of 3,000 kilowatt hours. “Arithmetically, that is enough to cover the electricity needs of 40 average single-family homes for seven days and nights,” says Johannes Kostka, the Bosch associate who is the project’s commercial manager. The vanadium redox flow battery will be installed in a building measuring 150 square meters, while the lithium-ion batteries are housed in large steel containers covering an area of around 350 square meters. The total area of the installation, including building services and parking spaces, is approximately 2,500 square meters. The double battery at Braderup is one of the largest of its kind in Europe.
*This article was supported by Bosch.