Storing Solar Energy

The Guardian has some excellent articles on the energy industry, often they initially contain errors, but these are usually quickly updated/amended as people start complaining.

A recent one which I enjoyed is regarding storage of surplus renewable energy when demand is low and what the current spread of options are, and where the research is leading us, this can be found here, first published in January 2022.

The section that caught my eye was Concentrated Solar Power Storage; it focused on the Crescent Dunes solar energy project near Tonopah in the Nevada Desert. Essentially, the project uses the heat of a solar farm which consists of concentrated mirrors to heat salt to temperatures of up to 560C turning it into a molten state. The salt is kept at this temperature until electricity is needed, the heat is then used to run a conventional steam turbine which generates enough electricity to power 75,000 homes into the night.

Whilst the project is pretty exciting, the article refers to the project as “pioneering” and “new”, which is not the case.

The Gemasolar Power Plant near Seville in southern Spain started operating on similar principles in 2011, and another outside the Moroccan city of Ouarzazate started operating in 2015/2016. Other solar power plants are available.

Late to the party or not, Crescent Dunes is a damned fine example of how to harness renewables to ensure a continuity of energy supply, this is exciting stuff and not to be sniffed at. When renewables get this good, you really have to ask yourself why bother with fossil fuels?

With a future this bright, you just gotta wear shades.

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