Friday, October 19, 2007

Fixing the Power Grid: Big batteries will fight blackouts...

... and could make renewable power economically viable.

From MIT's Technology Review:

Large-scale power storage is crucial to our energy future: the Electric Power Research Institute, the U.S. utility industry's leading R&D consortium, says that storage would enable the widespread use of renewable power and make the grid more reliable and efficient.

Recent announcements by utility giant
American Electric Power (AEP), based in Columbus, OH, suggest that grid storage technologies are finally ready for commercial deployment in the United States. Last month, AEP ordered three multi-megawatt battery systems and set goals of having 25 megawatts of storage in place by 2010, and 40 times that by 2020.

"That was a dream four or five years ago; now it is happening," says AEP energy-storage expert Ali Nourai.The AEP system uses a sodium-sulfur battery about the size of a double-decker bus (see below)...MORE