Wind power is renewable, clean and sustainable, however it is also intermittent. Agreeably, energy is only produced when the turbine is spinning and the performance of wind turbines increase at night when there is a reduced energy demand.
Energy supplies must meet demand to prevent the lights turning off. Currently, wind power most commonly acts as a supplementary form of energy with homes and businesses still consuming fossil fuel based energy. The solution is finding a way to store the energy produced when the blades are spinning and use it at peak times. The concept of storage for small scale renewable technologies is ongoing and is of vital consideration if small scale embedded generation is to be a main player in our future energy industry.
Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) in Northern Ireland have highlight the potential of on-farm energy storage and the contribution is would make to load management. Indeed, on-farm storage will allow power delivery at specified peak times. The UFU believes that there has not been enough policy consideration to the concept of storage of small scale renewable energy in Northern Ireland, or in fact anywhere else in the UK.
Isothermal Compressed Air Energy Storage (IAES) currently operates on large scale developments, but incorporating this technology on a micro-grid scale is a very real and exciting possibility.