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Storing wind power in cold stores February 10, 2007

Posted by tkcollier in Business, Enviroment, Technology.

» Storing wind power in cold stores | Emerging Technology Trends | ZDNet.com

Off peak storage has been an ongoing issue for nuclear power plants. They aren’t like a hydrocarbon plant, which can be throttled back. The nuclear reaction is a constant heat source.

Water is the cheapest method to store kinetic energy. India developed using their excess night-time energy to pump water up to a lake. During peak-demand times, the water is release to turn electric producing turbines, like are used at Dams.The Back Creek Pump Storage in Bath County Virginia uses this method. Another water trick is to make ice at night and use it for office air conditioning during the day, when the workers are present.

Many Cold Stores in the US already do “load shedding” the same way that is proposed here. The only new wrinkle is using wind power instead of the power grid to pull down temperatures during the off-peak night-time hours
According to Nature, a European-funded project has be launched to store gigawatts of electricity created from wind into the refrigerated warehouses normally used to store food. As the production of wind energy is variable every day, it cannot be easily accommodated on the electricity grid. So the “Night Wind” project wants to store wind energy produced at night in refrigerated warehouses and to release this energy during daytime peak hours. The first tests will be done in the Netherlands this year. And as the cold stores exist already, practically no extra cost should be needed to store as much as 50,000 megawatt-hours of energy.

The idea seems simple. Say you lowered the temperature of all large coldstores in Europe by just 1°C during the night when electricity demand is low, then let it rise 1°C by switching them off during the day when demand is at peak. The net effect would be that the warehouses would act as batteries — potentially storing 50,000 megawatt-hours of energy — and the food wouldn’t melt


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