Wind energy provides sufficient storage capacity for sustainability

March 24, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Friday, 21 March 2014 09:27

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Engineering News

March 21, 2014

Engineering research and development have led to the creation of wind turbines for sustainable energy operations both on- and off-shore, but their capacity for storage has remained questionable. However, research conducted by Stanford scientists has shown that significant quantities of wind energy can be put in reserve, resulting in a net gain in power, according to a news release.

Storing for sustainability
The team examined the storage potential of both wind turbines and photovoltaic devices, calculating their energetic sustainability. Whereas the scientists found that solar power producers could yield approximately 24 hours of energy reserves, they discovered that the wind industry is capable of supporting storage for 72 hours worth of electricity.

“Whenever you build a new technology, you have to invest a large amount of energy up front,” said Michael Dale, a Stanford research associate, according to the news release. “Studies show that wind turbines and solar photovoltaic installations now produce more energy than they consume. The question is, how much additional grid-scale storage can the wind and solar industries afford and still remain net energy providers to the electrical grid?”

The study revealed that wind energy devices can create enough power to offset their own production and provide excess to be stored for grid usage. The solar industry, on the other hand, is currently incapable of furnishing enough energy to produce more resources than are required for its functioning, preventing grid contributions.

Energetic cost effectiveness
Dale and his colleagues conducted their research in order to discover the influence that solar and wind energy sources can have on total power output, the team wrote in an abstract of the study published in Energy Environmental Science.

The investigation is intended to clarify the viability of these energy production methods, which necessitate sizable initial costs in terms of power expenditures. The authors explain that, theoretically, some of the energy yielded by wind and solar technologies will be put back into the system for the fabrication and implementation of new devices.

However, this energetic reinvestment requires power storage capacities, which are themselves costly to manufacture. The study explored the abilities of wind and solar equipment to generate the energy resources needed to support ongoing spending for new devices while providing the grid with electricity.

Current technologies enable the storage of wind energy sufficient to make these devices viable power sources, though more engineering research is needed to bring the same reserve capacities to photovoltaic equipment.


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