Wind turbines are a great way to generate clean, renewable energy. However, producing energy also means you must have a mechanism to store the energy produced.
This process is more complicated than simply storing electricity in batteries. Instead, excess electricity is fed into the power grid, where it is stored. This article explores how wind turbines store energy and how that energy is used to power homes and businesses.
Where excess energy from wind turbines is stored
Most conventional turbines don’t have battery storage systems. Some newer turbine models are starting to experiment with battery storage, but it’s not very common yet.
At the moment, wind turbines store energy by sending it to the grid, and it is stored on the grid if there is an excess of energy,
How does the power grid store energy
Contrary to popular belief, electricity itself can’t be stored. Instead, it’s converted to other forms of energy, like heat or chemical energy, which can be stored and used later to generate electricity.
Here is a list of the most common ways energy is stored on the grid:
Pumped Hydroelectricity Storage
This is the most common form of energy storage on the grid. It works by using excess electricity to pump water into a reservoir. When there is an electricity demand, the water is released back down through turbines, generating electricity.
Pumped hydroelectricity can store large amounts of energy, but it requires a lot of space and can be expensive to build.
Compressed Air Storage
Compressed air storage uses excess electricity to compress air stored in an underground cavern or tank. When there is an electricity demand, the cold, compressed air is released through a heating system, spinning a turbine as it expands, generating electricity.
Flywheel Energy Storage
Excess electricity is used to spin a flywheel, storing energy as kinetic energy.
The flywheel is spun by an electric motor connected to it. This spinning generates electricity, which is then fed into the grid when the demand is high.
Excess electricity is used to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen is then stored and used in fuel cells to generate electricity, or it can be combusted to generate heat.
Hydrogen storage is a relatively new technology and is still being developed.
Superconducting Magnetic Energy Storage
Excess energy is used to generate a magnetic field, stored in a superconducting coil. When there is an electricity demand, the magnetic field is released and generates an electric current, which powers homes and businesses.
Superconducting magnetic energy storage is an excellent way to store energy with almost 100% efficiency, but it is also costly.
Thermal Energy Storage
Excess electricity is used to heat a substance, such as water or molten salt. This heat is then stored and can be used to generate electricity when the demand is high.
Thermal energy storage is very efficient and can store large amounts of energy, but it requires a lot of space.
Batteries can store a large amount of energy and are relatively small, making them perfect for wind turbines.
Battery storage is also becoming more common on the grid side, as it is a very efficient way to store energy. However, they are expensive and have a limited lifespan and capacity.