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« Germany Counting on Wind Energy to Reduce Foreign Energy Reliance | Main | New Transmission Line to Bring Wind Energy to all of Texas »

February 18, 2007


Kit P

This article seems misleading. Energy is not being stored at night, it is being consumed at night. Energy is not being supplied during the day, demand is being reduced.

Steam power plants can easily change power to match demand (they are not switched on and off). Maybe someone can explain why building more windmills than are needed is a good thing for the environment.


Given that large users can pay less for off-peak power, wouldn't many of the operators of cold warehouses already be doing this?
I'd put this in the category of efficiency improvement rather than storage. Meanwhile we do need to improve energy storage of all kinds including thermal ones - which have scalability as one of their advantages. Projects like the Dutch Road Energy Systems one that collects heat from roads, stores it in aquifers and uses it for commercial and domestic heating and cooling as well as for keeping roads ice-free in winter, show that large scale thermal storage systems work. Improved insulation springs to mind as one technology that is always worth doing better - it could make the energy used in the above example available (via insulated pipes) much further away.


Kit P, energy is certainly being stored.  It may not be stored in a form which can return electricity to the grid (no F2G system), but it's storage just as much as icehouses and woodpiles are storage.


Excellent development! Now operate those cooling heat pumps using geothermal efficiency gains.

Run the extra heat into the ground instead of the hot air in summer. And use cool air as a heat sink for the condenser coils in winter.

Why not store coolness in the thermal mass of schools, malls, and large buildings too? Or heat during heating season all with wind powered electricity running geothermal heat pumps? That would reduce peak demand by a huge amount. And conserve a huge amount of generation capacity now devoted to air conditioning and resistance electric heating.

It could conserve enough electricity to charge up plugin vehicles. Another great storage sink for the grid.

Mike Glover

TES Thermal storage increases the efficiency of the generator, the efficiency of the transmission lines and the efficiency of the end usera AC or refrigeration equipment.

It's the ony time proven solution to building more coal fired power plants.

Even without the environmental issues, economics demand no new power plants.

Consumers need help from local and state government to reduce the cost of electricity.

Demand and supply are the major components of the cost of electricity. If we lower peak demand, supply will increase and the cost of power will fall significantly.

The primary method available to reduce demand is to make ice when electricity is cheap. Melt the ice for air conditioning when electricity is expensive or in high demand. This is a simple alternative to spending billions building new coal fired electric power plants.

Thermal Energy Storage, TES systems have been in use in Texas since the 1920s when three churches had systems installed. There are more than 5000 systems operating in the US now. One of the original applications was to use a small inexpensive compressor to make ice all week long and then melt all that ice to cool the sanctuary for two hours on Sunday. A common TES system is using tank type water heaters (hot thermal storage) to avoid large instantaneous gas or electric water heaters.

So why don’t we find a TES air conditioner in every house and small business? The answer is also simple:
• Most electric rates are averaged so it is not less expensive to buy electricity when it should be cheap and it is not more expensive to buy electricity in high demand periods when the price should be exponentially higher.
• In very round numbers it costs thousands of dollars per kW (or ton of A/C) to fund the construction of electric generation plants, transmission and distribution (TD) infrastructure. There are no mechanisms to divert funds from coal fired generators to funding TES systems in your home or business. The current conservative estimate of avoided costs to build generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure is $1000. per kW per year. This adds up to more than $45,000. over the 15 year life of a 3 ton TES system.
Should we invest $45,000 in new coal generating plants or invest a fraction of that in your home TES system?

If the above economic rationalization isn’t enough to convince you, consider the following additional benefits on TES.
• Running your air conditioner at night to make ice for daytime use is much more efficient because the ambient outside temperature is much lower and you’re a/c unit operates more efficiently.
• Running the generating turbine at night is much more efficient for the same reason, lower nighttime temperatures.
• All power plants run more efficiently when they are fully loaded and demand is predictable.
• Transmission and distribution is more efficient at night.
A massive deployment of TES will postpone the need to build additional power plants for many years and lower the cost of power for consumers. We can land on the moon. Why can’t we make ice?


Mike Milliken:  Four posts in a row, talking to himself?  It's past time to ban this clown.

Matt M.

If you are going to write so many messages, perhaps you could take the time to make sure that they are readable. Your ideas are obscured by poor writing.

Harvey D.

The domestic 60-gal hot water tank is the cheapest way to store energy during off-peak times and reduce peaks by 4.5Kw per tank or home.

All what is required is a $60 programmable electronic 40 Amps timer installed (by yourself in about 10 minutes) next to the hot water tank.

One city (with independant power distribution network) has already done that with 'remote controlled timers' and got ride of significant peaks by turning most hot water heaters off 6 to 8 hours a day. Customers dont even notice it.

Of course, remotely reducing heating and A/C in stores, shopping malls etc by 2 to 4 degrees during peak hours would also help and would be very easy to do.

I always wondered why power companies (+ Ferderal and States/Provincial authorities) don't seem to be interested in simple solutions.

J.C., Sr.

Wow! after reading all those comments, I guess there are many wind generator fans besides me. I think that was the main topic.
If I may make a comment in the form of a question for dummies? I love windmills. I,m just old enough to remember seeig a few around that were used to pump water for human and farm animals and also crop irrigation if needed. They were copied from old European designs that were used to grind grains and practice slaying for crazy knights with lances. Although I have never seen them I have read that electric wind generators were quite common in the West to generate power for individual farmers. The rural electrification Put a halt to all that until recently. The question is. Could a portion Of that wind energy be stored via a flywheel base? Also, could that same method be used at sea to stabilize wind generators in deeper waters?

Thomas Pedersen

The potential of this kind of intelligent consumption is tremendous. It is also vital for large scale roll-out of renewable energy as well as being economical and just good sense with conventional energy!

I have a naïve hope that more/cheaper IT technology with ubiquitous microchips will reduce the extra effort required to near-zero in the future, at least in all new appliances.


Flywheels certainly can be used for power storage, but developing the materials that can withstand the huge forces has been an ongoing challenge. You can see some more about that here:

Jeff Anthony

While the "NIght Wind" project is an interesting and worthwhile form of Energy Storage worth pursuing and exploring to its fullest, it should also be pointed out that some of the opening statements in this blog are slightly misleading -- in terms of describing wind energy as being "quite variable" and "relative unpredictable" -- leading an uninformed reader to wonder whether this aspect of wind power is unaddressed and a mystery to wind plant operators and utilities alike. In fact, this is not the case and the wind industry has, in fact, undertaken considerable effort in understanding and managing the variable nature of wind power and how it interacts with utility operations and system dynamics under a variety of scenarios and situations. To learn more on this topic, I would strongly urge readers to learn more about the "state of the art" in wind integration by reading this short summary report from the Utility Wind Integration Group (UWIG) at: http://www.uwig.org/IntegrationStateoftheArt.htm

Even more information and detailed reports are available at: http://www.uwig.org/opimpactsdocs.html

Jeff Anthony
American Wind Energy Association


Well Jeff I see you are still touting the 20% of grid power limit for wind.

I really wish that you would check out the latest information from the latest wind farm study.


It may help get wind installed as the predominant baseload power source.Thanks.

How about checking into this too? A new national park, linked in terms of wildlife habitat and philosophy with a Canadain grassland park. In fact they already started one on their side.

This proposed Prairie National Park would also serve as a huge wind farm site encompassing conservation areas in multiple great plains states.

Tom Gray

Dear Doc,

I don't think we are going to stand in the way of anyone who wants to do more wind, but 20% is a huge lift in the context of today's electricity system and national energy policy. Rome was not built in a day.

Thomas O. Gray
American Wind Energy Association


Gotta get more proactive Tom. We are in a bad situation here with global climate change and war over oil and nuclear proliferation.

I think it's as big an emergency as WW2. Immediate action is needed. Estimates that cap wind at 20% are not helpfull.

I have noticed that very often the heads of environmental organizations that spend most of their time inside the beltway do not understand the urgency that people at the grassroots feel. They think and act at DC pace. It is a whole different reality zone.


Check out what a blog debate on Cape wind has become Tom. It is interesting how rumors of intermittency are constantly used by the opposition. And the bird kill excuse. And the air safety excuse. But get this new one!

Supposedly cape Wind will interfere with radar and threaten...gasp...HOMELAND SECURITY!!


I counter with the link to that gristmill article about the wind farm study. And the Audobon link.

Joseph Ellsworth

We recently tested a pure mechanical design for wind powered refrigeration. Initial results look good we are now trying to determine if there is a market and if so at what price point.

This design has shown a 70F drop in temperature with 8 MPH winds and has withstood 100 MPH winds with no damage. It does not use any refrigerant or other caustic chemicals and we have a option that allows the point of refrigeration to be up to 200 foot away from the wind collectors.

We have had very good results from horizontal wind collectors that can be mounted on roofs in less than 2 vertical foot and are very light weight. This makes it relatively easy to have an indoor freezer or fridge powered by outdoor wind. There is no electricity involved so the cold is stored in the form of a water or antifreeze solution.

We are thinking about releasing a product that would provide a 5 cubic foot freezer capable of maintaining 25F on an average of 3 hours per day of 8 MPH winds. The system is capable of substantially more chilling than needed at one time so we are thinking about lining the interior of the freezer with a human safe propylene glycol solution that freezes at 15F. The lower phase change temp should help it keep the food below freezing even during extended periods of no wind.

The same system can provide basic refrigeration simply by building an insulated housing that captures the waste cold from the freezer compartment.

The question we are struggling with is anybody interested in a light weight electricity free freezer for use in off grid locations and if so what price point would it have to hit to attract a domestic audience. Is there a USA Domestic and Canada market or is it only applicable for poverty stricken countries.

One interesting facet of this design is that it does not dump any heat into the interior of the structure which means that unlike traditional refrigerators it would actually provide a net chilling effect to the building where it is installed.

It would require nothing more than a cresent wrench and screw driver for installation although a drill may be needed to drill ½ hole in the exterior roof. Anybody with sufficient skills to install the tubing for a ice maker could install the system but it does require running a two tubes from roof or exterior mounted wind collector to the interior fridge.

Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated. [email protected]


Is there any alternative in countries where there are not many cold storages?

norm pettus

Off-peak power pricing should be extended to small users as well as large. This will be particularly important if the plug-in hybird becomes a reality. Those are charged at night.



Energy storage seems a very interesant subject concerning all our future vision of energy. So, I decided tha my final report at university was about energy storage, specifically about the technical and economical feasiblity of the large-scale integration of ESS viewed from an electric utility. I post this comment just in case someone should now or have any information about this. Thank you very much.

Rudi Pardede

Dear All,
I am from Indonesia and looking for Ice Maker or Cold Storage system with alternatives energy: wind, solar and other renewable energy source.
This Cold Storage/Ice Maker will help fishery man in rural area where there is no electric power avalaible. The capacity about 1-5 ton per day of ice.
Is there any information using Ammonia Absorption to generate low temperature brine water with economic price?

Rudi Pardede

JAS-Power Bridge

Excellent projects.

JAS-Power Bridge

Excellent projects.


[email protected]

chester jacob

Some amazing facts about Wind Power…

Myth #1 Wind turbines are very noisy. This is not true at all. In fact wind turbines are very quiet. The truth is your kitchen refrigerator may make more noise than these wind turbines.

Myth #2 Your Wind Turbine will affect your television.. This is not true as well. I will teach you where to place your turbine in order not to have this happen. With the right tools and instructions you will be an expert in no time, not to mention watching your favorite TV. show.

Myth #3 Wind Turbines don’t really produce enough power. In fact Wind Turbines can produce upwards of 85% power 24/7. Not even your power company produces 100% of power 24 hours a day.


don bartell

if you are interested in learning exactly how to generate power and reduce your bill then this is the perfect resource for you!


Ajf 6

Friendship is pure and holy, like love, it is a kind of "I'm able to you, there are you in me" mutual emotional.

Manhattan Air Specialists

Solar is great source for supplying electricity and heat from the same collectors. And cooling can be acomplished most efficiently by simply circulating fluid through pipes underground and in the homes inner structure using solar electric powered pumps. Use it.

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