Windmills Overload East Europe's Grid, Risking Blackout

by Solarevolution October 26, 2012 04:12

Windmills Overload East Europe’s Grid, Risking Blackout

Germany is dumping electricity on its unwilling neighbors and by wintertime the feud should come to a head.

Central and Eastern European countries are moving to disconnect their power lines from Germany’s during the windiest days. That’s when they get flooded with energy, echoing struggles seen from China to Texas over accommodating the world’s 200,000 windmills.

Renewable energy around the world is causing problems because unlike oil it can’t be stored, so when generated it must be consumed or risk causing a grid collapse. At times, the glut can be so great that utilities pay consumers to take the power and get rid of it.

Oh that we might have Germany's problem :: too much electricity.

An acquaintance of mine has been developing an electricity storage technology which can scale and has a low environmental footprint. I called him last month to find out how things are going.

I had thought he was going to tell me about progress on a megawatt-hour prototype. No, he's talking to, you guessed it, the Germans, and they're asking him to design for them a Gigawatt-hour system. Meanwhile, his American prospects haven't materialized.

The Germans will meet the renewable energy challenge. They will be selling American storage technology to electricity grid operators around the world. (Renewables aren't the only context for grid-scale storage.) 

Meanwhile the dominant energy storage technology comes straight from the stone age: digging up black rocks and burning them. But how long will this last? Hmmm... 

Chinese saying: There are two kinds of businessman, good and bad. Good businessman selling; bad businessman buying.

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