In what feels as tense as Wages of Fear in places, teams of drivers transport wind turbine blades up a steep switchback mountain road.
According to Wind Power Monthly:
The route to the government-sponsored Baoding Mountain Wind Farm is 5.5 km long, and includes 212 turns and slopes as steep as 30 degrees. The journey with each blade took five hours, and the drivers had to negotiate the load through villages with buildings on either side of the road, and high voltage power lines. The blades are 52.4 metres long, and weigh over 12 tons.
• C&C trucks carrying wind turbine blades to the mountaintop (via Wind Power Monthly) Read the rest
How many batteries have you used today?
Energy storage devices have become an integral part of our lives, but they still aren't really a part of our electric grid. There are some good reasons for that—at that scale of storage, batteries become gigantic and extremely expensive. But the lack of storage on the grid has some distinct drawbacks, putting the stability of our electric system at risk and making it harder to add in lots of renewable energy generation.
Because of that, researchers are looking for ways to get the benefits of batteries without some of the detriments. There are lots of different ways to do this, but one solution is particularly awesome to describe. Hint: It involves caves.
Last Friday, I had a guest post on i09 explaining Compressed Air Energy Storage, an old technology that could be one of the most cost-effective ways to store energy at a grid scale.
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At any given moment, there must be almost exactly the same amount of electricity being produced as there is being consumed. If the balance tilts either way-even by a fraction of a percent-it could lead to a blackout. To simply keep the lights on, the grid has to be constantly monitored, with controllers predicting demand and making small adjustments, minute-by-minute, to supply. This happens 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
... That's where CAES comes in. CAES systems store energy underground in the form of compressed air, but to make it work you have to start with the right kind of geology.