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Nanotechnology Report

Energy Storage Opportunities in the Wind Power Industry

Category: Transport, Energy & Environment Published: Oct 2010 View Contents
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Increasing the use of wind power is a key goal of energy policy set by governments around the world. Renewable energy deployment plans in every major country include a substantial share for wind; wind is favored because it is a domestic source of energy, is “clean and green,” and because there is plenty of wind to be had. For example, in the U.S., the American Wind Energy Association has claimed that the amount of wind energy available is much greater than the national demand for energy.

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But while large wind farms are already in place in Europe, Asia and the U.S., none of them can claim much commercial success and it is pretty clear why. Wind energy is non-coincident – that is, it tends to be generated at times when it cannot be used or can only be sold at off-peak rates. Wind generation is also highly unpredictable and uncontrollable. Finally, the highest potential for wind generation often seems to be in remote locations, meaning the power is there, but there are no homes, factories or offices to consume it.

We believe that as the result of all this, there is a large and growing opportunity for energy storage firms of many kinds to sell into the rapidly growing wind energy sector and this report analyzes and quantifies those opportunities. Energy storage adds value and reduces risk for the wind energy industry by decoupling wind energy production and energy demand. It makes wind-generated energy less dependent on the weather, enabling it to be sold at better prices. Storage also helps optimize the use of scarce grid capacity, improving the opportunity for selling wind generated energy to users in different parts of the country or even different countries.

In this report, we analyze in detail the requirements for wind-power related storage and where in the wind power industry purchases of energy storage systems are likely to be made. We also examine the many different energy storage technologies that might serve the needs of wind storage, ranging from established technologies such as flywheels to lithium ion batteries. We also discuss how the energy storage needs for wind power will vary depending on what part of the grid they are deployed in; transmission, distribution or microgrids.

In this report, we also discuss wind related energy storage in the context of a total market picture, looking at how wind energy storage will be impacted by the arrival of improved renewable energy management systems, improved weather forecasting, and “supergrids.” This report is a unique guide to where energy storage firms can make money in the wind power industry.