Engineering Renewables Storage

By Published On: October 29, 2010

Integrating renewable energy into the transmission system is expected to add to the cost of building renewable energy. A seminar hosted by the California Energy Commission explored the cost implications of that technology Oct. 25. Either traditional fossil-powered back up for voltage and other system support has to remain on line or new methods of storage are required to keep the system stable. According to KEMA, a research group employed by the commission, the state expects to require between 3,000 and 6,000 MW of new electricity storage to enable the state to reach its 33 percent renewables portfolio standard. Storage backup is “mysterious,” said Alexandra Von Meier, Sonoma State University professor of environmental studies. “For instance, generators are like members of a band, but one hits the down beat before the other, then the players have to synch up. If it’s not synchronous, then circuit breakers pop,” she said, and the transmission system is in trouble. To enable synchronicity, power is required to be on standby, she added.

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