The critical issue of back up power

20 percent of America’s – and perhaps the world’s – electricity could soon come from wind and solar. Our societies thus need reliable, cheap and sustainable energy storage solutions.

Concentrated solar could benefit from molten salts, yet wind energy doesn’t have yet its own solution. German and Swiss utilities are working on Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) as among these solutions.

The first test plant using CAES is due to be completed in 2013 and will be able to store the equivalent capacity of 200 MW during five hours.

To an interesting article from GreenTech, CAES is tested in the United States:

  • New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG) is working on a CAES project in a salt cavern in upstate New York
  • Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) is looking at a 300MW CAES project in Kern county.  DOE and PG&E are still working on the details and site information.

The other solution has been around for some time : hydroelectricity. But its capacity can’t be increased a lot more as large hydro also have their own drawbacks.

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