In any renewable project ever undertaken, except for the one’s generating less than demand, the question of storage is always one that hangs like a black cloud over an otherwise sunny financial forecast. This goes for a wide variety of technologies.
Wind will not always blow, and the sun will not always shine. Therefore to be able to supply a constant load of reliable energy the power generated needs to be stored to provide a constant source that can power your fan when there’s no wind and turn on the lights at night. Also, when forecasting the economics of a wind or solar project, the question of ‘How much wind?’ or ‘How much sun?’ always seems to be one that causes investors to apply the most conservative multiplier to your revenues.
Alternatively, in the case of consistent generation and availability (biomass and biogas), matching the capacity to generate with the ability to utilise, always seems to leave you at a dark fork in a dust road where you have to either scale down the project and consequently increase your cost per MW, or dump the extra power on the grid for a revenue that hardly pays for the extra equipment. For instance in one of our current projects, although our capacity is utilised during the week, once Saturday rolls around and operations run with a skeleton crew while the rugby is on we end up with a serious amount of spare energy. Sure we can use the heat for feedstock or digestate drying, we could sell it to the grid or even wheel it to a second customer but the cost of this process and the additional hoops that municipalities or Eskom hold for us to jump through make it end up as a real waste of some great and clean energy.
The ability to store energy affordably, changes the lives of the people in this world. Guaranteed.
We enjoyed this guys take on it and loved his solution because it fits right in line with what this company is about. He says:
‘If we’re going to solve this countries energy situation, we can’t conserve our way out, we can’t drill our way out, we can’t bomb our way out – we’re going to do it the old fashion american way, we’re going to invent our way out’