Piebalgs highlights green energy storage

Sept. 11, 2009 at 1:10 PM
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BRUSSELS, Sept. 11 (UPI) -- The European Commission is funding several research projects examining the storage of renewable energy resources, the European energy commissioner said.

European Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs notes the critics of wind and solar energy complain supplies are not secured due to the inadequate ability to store the generated power.

Piebalgs, however, writes on his Web site that Europe is financing several research projects to do just that.

The biosphere reserve in Hierro Island in the Canary archipelago hosts a wind farm that produces electricity for local markets. Water turbines in an associated artificial lake are fed by pumps utilized when energy demand is low, thereby "storing" extra wind capacity.

Meanwhile, a solar energy facility in Spain heats salts that are used to help generate steam during off-peak hours, again "storing" the solar energy, Piebalgs explains.

The commissioner notes that conventional fossil fuels are formed through a long and complex process that is driven effectively by solar energy.

This new technology, he writes, will give the energy-hungry world the ability to store alternative energy resources for the day conventional fuels run out.

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