Gallery: Green Power Islands Store Clean Energy From the Wind and Sun


The Danish architectural firm Gottlieb Paludan has a wild idea for the storage of green power. Take the world’s most island-ridden areas and turn unused water-surrounded land into Green Power Islands. The firm would use the land on the islands to generate power through wind or solar — depending on the climate — and then use the water around it to store the power using pumped hydro.

Pumped hydro is a useful and simple way to store energy and is already in use around the world. Essentially the idea is that clean power is notoriously unreliable. The sun shines when it wants to and the winds blow when the clouds are around. Pumped hydro allows that unreliable power to be stored in a clean and efficient manner — read: no batteries — to be used at a later time. Essentially one installs a series of low lying pools, high lying pools, water pumps and slow grade waterfalls. When there is energy from the sun or wind that is not being used, you use that energy to pump water from low pools to high pools. When you need the power later, you let water fall down the slow-grade waterfalls and use it as hydro energy to fill the grid.

The folks at Gottlieb Paludan have outlined a few areas around the world that would be great for Green Power Islands: their native Denmark, the Florida Keys, Jiangsu in China, Manama in Baharain and Tamil Nadu in India. All of these locals have an abundance of uninhabited islands and either an abundance of sun or wind. Gottlieb Paludan notes that pumped hydro is in widespread use in mountainous regions to store and control the flow of wind power. Their concept will pump into the grid a remarkable 75% of the energy that was captured in the first round of energy gathering.

+ Green Power Island

Via Planet Save


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1 Comment

  1. Eclipse Now August 18, 2010 at 6:32 am

    I can’t wait for more details on the Compressed Air Storage system being worked on in the UK.

    The basic outline:

    * A new approach for wind: these wind turbines will float far off the coast and not be visible from land.
    * They will compress air, not generate electricity.
    * The compressed air is stored in large rubber balloons deep under water, about the size of your house.
    * These balloons use the pressure of deeper sea water to maximise the pressure that the air is stored at, making the rubber materials cheaper than trying to store all that air in steel strong enough to take compressed air on land.
    * With good wind, the turbines blow the compressed air straight into generating electricity. When the wind is low, the balloons take over supplying the compressed air to move the turbines.
    * It’s cheaper than any storage so far: Batteries are at about $500 thousand per mWh, Pumped hydro is about $80 thousand per mWh of storage, but these compressed balloons are only about $1 thousand per mWh!
    * Claims that the whole UK could run on wind without Brits even seeing the turbines because they are all so far off-shore!

    My comments:

    * It’s a long way from being commercialised. The first balloon is only 1.8 meters across, the quarter scale balloon is later this year, and a full scale balloon will be tested next year in 2011.
    * Seamus admits that wind will have to store about a day of power: but even he admits that the winter wind can die down for about 3 days straight.
    * But where does this leave our nuclear campaign?
    * As I always answer: we have to start deploying reliable base-load clean energy now, not in 10 or 15 years when the kinks and quirks of some new technology might have been ironed out.
    * In GenIII nuclear plants we have a demonstrated technology that can keep the lights on and our electric cars running as peak oil and global warming hit. These will generate waste to fuel the soon to be released GenIV reactors that we know work, but are yet to be fully deployed at a commercial scale.
    * Are people really so frightened of safe, clean, cheap nuclear power that they’d have us gamble with catastrophic climate change? Do they really want us to delay solving climate change on the whimsy and rumour that the many expensive problems with unreliable renewables will one day be fixed? Do they really think reality will just bend to their whims and wishes? They’re kidding themselves if they are.
    * FINALLY, if this new compressed air wind turbine does prove more reliable and cheaper than nuclear power, no one will be happier than myself! We can save our uranium for a moon or Mars base.
    * I would be glad to announce that renewable energy could finally do the job!
    * But until I read a broad scientific consensus that a new individual renewable generator could reliably provide ample cheap base-load power, I’m not budging. I’m no longer convinced that we can rely on a grid where ‘a bit of wind at one time and a bit of solar at another will do the job’. We need power that we can rely on whatever the time of day or night, whatever the weather, and whatever the season. Today’s renewables just cannot do that!

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