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Battery storage is on the increase

Posted by on in Renewable Energy Blog
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As Nsure arrange insurance for the four operating turbines on the Scottish island of Gigha this item is of particular interest.

The island is exploring the potential of being involved with a £2.5m development aimed at solving a well-documented issue - how to store energy generated by renewable energy sources. The proposed project will involve installing huge batteries containing 75,000 litres of sulphuric acid mixed with vanadium pentoxide; the intention is to allow power generated by the island's wind turbines to be stored for later use.

While the island's turbines are running, their power is used to run households on the island and any excess is transmitted by cable to the mainland electricity grid. When winds are low, and Gigha's turbines do not turn, the grid feeds power to the island. However, the existing cable link has an upper power limit. Consequently, much of the island's excess power is wasted as this cannot be transmitted to the mainland grid. The project, backed by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, is intended to get round this problem.

One crucial point is that these batteries will be able to be used over and over again, and the islands and remote highland regions have immense potential for generating power from a variety of renewable energy sources. However, because suitable grid infrastructure is not in place and would be immensely expensive to upgrade or replace, comparatively, battery storage systems could help.

The concept is not new, although the size and scale of the use of battery storage is increasing. In August 2013, the Isle of Orkney recently powered up the UK's first large scale grid battery, being a new 2MW lithium ion battery which will help to balance grid and support renewable energy on the Scottish island.

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