Gallery: Germany May Build First Wind Power-Storing Coal Mines in the W...

image © Traveler100 via Wikimedia Commons
 

It’s a classic story line in sustainability: dirty tech goes green. We’ve seen coal mines transformed into geothermal energy stores and dirty plants become gorgeous green buildings. Now, for the first time ever, we may see out-of-use coal mines used as pump storage for wind power in Germany. The state government of Lower Saxony is working with engineers to determine the potential for using abandoned mines in the Harz Mountains to house hydroelectric pumps to store excess wind power. If it comes to fruition, the plant would be the first of its kind in the world.

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  1. ppon June 27, 2011 at 5:57 am

    Pump storage has been around for years, with Dinorwig in Wales as an ideal example, running inside a mountain since 1984. Unfortunately, (as this article proves) most people are unaware of this method of storing energy, and think that the down time of wind turbines is insurmountable. To get to that conclusion people also have to ignore the fact that when one wind farm isn’t generating, another will be.

    BTW: MW (megawatts) is not a unit of energy – it’s a unit of power i.e. how much energy the station can output in a second. And a further point: the number of homes you can power is a fairly useless figure since most people are unaware that homes account for maybe 4% of energy use in a country such as the UK. Percentage of total national/world energy or electricity use is a number that means more – or comparison to a fossil fuel station, perhaps.

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