Belgium is planning to construct an island in the North Sea for the sole purpose storing wind energy.
Wind farms, when constructed using traditional mainstream methods, will eventually require backup as their electricity market penetration increases, and when wind turbines generate surplus electricity due to unusually high wind speeds (which can happen pretty often) it goes to waste.
Image Source: Vestas
“We have a lot of energy from the wind mills and sometimes it just gets lost because there isn’t enough demand for the electricity,” said spokeswoman for Belgium’s North Sea minister Johan Vande Lanotte. “This is a great solution,” the spokeswoman said, adding she thought it could be the first of its kind.
Excess wind power would be used to pump water out of the centre of the island, and it would be allowed to flow back in, but through an electricity generating turbine to augment overall electricity production when there is a shortfall of wind energy.
Vande Lanotte revealed these plans at the Belgian port of Zeebrugge late on Wednesday.
Large-scale wind energy storage has been mostly just a thought for many years, worldwide, but Belgium decided to step up to the plate and put it to the test.
There is an important fact about the electricity market penetration of wind power — In reality, the only real market penetration is done by electricity when it is used. By storing the surplus wind energy in the North Sea plant, they can finally sell it, because they will have it ready for when electricity demand increases during peak hours.
This article was first published at Cleantechnica. Reproduced with permission.