Among the broad range of technological solutions currently offered by renewable energies, wind power is one of the most common. Wind power is a form of energy that uses the force of the wind to generate electricity. It does so via wind turbine generators which, located on land or at sea, transform air streams into energy through a system of blades and other mechanical and electrical components.
Thanks to this form of renewable energy, when the wind blows, a certain amount of kilowatt-hours can be injected into power grids for lighting towns, cities and homes or providing energy to industry. But what happens when the wind that blows is not needed to produce electricity? Well, the energy carried by the wind goes unused.
On the other hand, what happens if we need electricity, but the wind is not blowing hard enough? Until now it was necessary to cover this demand with another form of energy, either renewable or polluting. But today it is already becoming possible to use wind energy even when the wind is not blowing. How? Thanks to electricity storage plants that use batteries, such as the one at ACCIONA’s Barasoain Experimental Wind Power Area in Navarre, Spain.
How does such a storage plant work?
At the innovative plant in Barasoain, some of the electricity produced by a 3 MW wind turbine generator is stored in two kinds of batteries, known as fast-response and slower-response. The fast-response battery is able to supply electricity for 20 minutes, while the slower-response battery supplies less power but over a longer period of time: up to an hour.
In this way, the batteries allow wind energy to be stored when it is not needed, to be used later, when there is demand or the electricity system requires it, although at that precise moment the wind is not active.
Electricity storage systems with batteries are highly promising, due to lowering costs and continuous efficiency improvements. Although still at an initial stage, the technology has demonstrated its usefulness, not only for home use and sparsely-connected grids such as on islands, but also for big applications in developed countries.
This is an innovative technology that allows us to progress toward a more sustainable energy system for everyone. Now find out how such a wind power storage plant functions in the following video.