Monday, March 28, 2005

Wind Power When the Wind isn't Blowing?

As the production price for wind energy continues to fall, the question of how to stabilze power flowing from wind energy facilities has become a hot topic. Because of the intermittent nature of wind, turbines don't produce power all the time - and unlike traditional power plants, wind power facilities can't just be turned on when the demand for electricity spikes. So what happens when the wind doesn't blow?

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported yesterday on an intriguing idea to keep power going when the wind isn't blowing (registration required).

According to the article, the Center for Energy and the Environment (CEE), a non-profit organization based in Minnesota, is working on designs for storing energy from wind power underground. As the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported, CEE wants to "collect energy created by wind turbines, convert it into highly pressurized air, pipe it into underground aquifers, and, like air being released from a balloon, use it later when needed."

While a novel application in the wind industry, the idea actually makes use of technology already in use at some coal power plants around the U.S.. CEE believes the technology has the potential to not only stabilize wind power production, but ultimately reduce electricity costs for consumers as well. Check out the article for more.

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