It is quite tempting to state that the day has come, but it is better to wait and see if this super-storage device actually works, and at what price to build and operate.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Grid Scale Energy Storage Flywheel
There was a major breakthrough announced this week in grid-scale energy storage. From the news release dated July 13, 2009, "Power Tree Corp. said they have started building a 30 GW energy storage device designed to help implement the smart grid." That is 30,000 MW or roughly the output of 30 nuclear reactors at 1,000 MW each. The amount of power stored per the announcement is somewhat questionable, as it should likely read 30 GW-hrs. If this is a bona fide project, the Grand Game has changed. Wind power can then be stored as much as needed for as long as needed. Same with solar and wave. Nuclear power may be done for; all this depends on the cost of the storage flywheel and how well it actually works.
As I wrote earlier, "The promises that were made in the 1950's by the nuclear power engineers regarding abundant power, that is too cheap to meter, will finally be realized. However, it will not be nuclear power providing that cheap energy, it will be a mix of renewable energy sources coupled to reliable energy storage systems. No matter how cheap uranium is, nor how efficient it is at producing electrical power, nothing is cheaper than free. Wind is free. Sunshine is free. Ocean currents are free. Rain is free. Those are worthy goals for renewable energy, and CO2 has nothing to do with any of it. The engineers are close, and getting closer."