Friday, September 10, 2010

Big ol' Batteries (XEL)

From the Climate+Energy Project blog:

Salina hosts one of the leading battery manufacturers in the nation, right?
So maybe the following story is of interest. Note: Whoever figures out battery storage for wind power – on an economic scale – will (a) transform wind power into a dispatchable resource, and (b) make a lot of money.
From the EERE newsletter:
In its quest to store wind energy and move it to the grid, Xcel Energy has reached a milestone in its preliminary tests of a one-megawatt (MW) battery-storage technology system, the company announced on August 3. The Wind-to-Battery Project showed it was possible to reduce the need to compensate for the variability of wind generation, Xcel Energy said. It is the first U.S. use of the sodium sulfur battery-storage technology as direct energy storage, according to Xcel Energy. 

The small demonstration project was part of the company’s research into how to integrate unpredictable renewable energy into the grid. Begun in October 2008, the research is being conducted with a battery installation in Luverne, Minnesota, that is connected to a nearby 11-MW wind farm. Twenty 50-kilowatt battery modules in the demonstration weigh approximately 80 tons and are able to store about 7.2 megawatt-hours of electricity, with a charge/discharge capacity of one megawatt. Fully charged, the battery could power 500 homes for more than seven hours....MORE