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Energy storage critical to development of renewables

flickr / Portland General Electric

Common criticisms of widespread development and utilization of renewable energy, particularly wind and solar power, are that power is only being generated when the wind blows and the sun shines. Critics claim these facts in nature result in unreliability of renewable sources of energy.

But there is a technological response to this criticism: energy storage systems. Recognizing that there are downtimes of power production when the wind isn’t blowing or after the sun has set, researchers have been hard at work for some time developing systems that will store energy so it will be available to the grid on a 24-hour basis.

Battery systems

NextEra Energy Inc., the top generator of solar and wind power in North America, plans to invest big time in energy storage technology. The company, which operates more than 100 wind farms in 19 states and Canada, is looking to spend $100 million in energy-storage systems over the next year to back up its fleet of solar and wind energy plants, Bloomberg News reports.

NextEra intends to use battery systems to manage energy fluctuations caused by cloudy weather or lulls in the wind, Jim Robo, Chief Executive Officer, said. Power companies are showing more interest in storage, especially batteries, which are becoming cheaper. The technology could make intermittent power sources more reliable and more affordable.

“Battery storage is the holy grail of the renewables business,” Robo said. “If we can deliver firm power to our renewable customers at a cost-effective rate, you’ll see renewables explode even faster than they already have.”

DOE program

Supporting industry, academia and other government institutions to develop advanced energy storage technologies is the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Storage Systems Program. The program demonstrates the effectiveness of storage technologies and analyzes policy options that will increase reliability, performance and competitiveness of electricity generation and transmission of utility-tied and off-grid systems.

The program has been involved in a number of projects that are monitored by storage experts at Sandia National Laboratories. Storage technologies and related systems range from standard lead-acid batteries to superconducting flywheels, ultra capacitors, compressed air energy storage, lithium-ion cells and many others.

Improved energy storage systems can provide additional incentives to increased development of renewable energy.

altAMPS software

geoAMPS, a technology company in the Columbus, OH area, has partnered with industry leaders to increase efficiencies in development, construction and ongoing operation of renewable energy projects. Its product altAMPS is a Web-based software system that has become an industry-leading comprehensive solution for end-to-end management of renewable energy projects.

altAMPS is filled with time-saving tools such as lease management, met tower management, royalty payment calculator, bulk update, auto reminders, payment tracker and scheduler, workflow and import/export capabilities.

Learn more about altAMPS by calling 614-389-4871. See altAMPS is action by scheduling a demonstration.


Dan Liggett is Communications and Public Relations Consultant for geoAMPS.

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