Can Wind Turbines Store Energy?

  • By: Preetam
  • Date: July 25, 2021
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Wind turbines produce more energy the windier it is. 

They are especially well-known for the amount of power that they can generate in the evening. 

Where does all this power go, though? Is it pumped directly into the energy grid, or is there a potential for storing it?

Can wind turbines store energy?

The wind turbines themselves cannot store energy, but there is the capability for wind farms to store energy.

When a wind turbine is working, the wind will move the turbine blades very fast. 

The movement of the wind turbine blades will power a generator. 

This generator, in turn, generates power. This power is then sent into the electrical grid. 

At no point during the normal operation of a wind turbine is there going to be power stored.

Wind turbine operators, however, can add power storage methods into the system. 

Most don’t due to the extra cost. 

However, a battery or some other method of storing energy can be introduced to the wind turbine setup. 

This means that rather than the power being sent directly into the electrical grid, the power is going to be used to charge a battery instead.

What are the best ways for wind turbines to store energy?

There are a few different methods that wind turbines can use to store energy. 

Some of these methods are a lot more prevalent in the wind farm industry than others.

Battery storage

This is the most common method for storing energy from wind turbines. 

It is probably the simplest method for storing power.

As we said before, some exceedingly large batteries will be hooked up to the wind farm. 

As the wind farm generates electricity, a charger is powered. 

This charger will power up the battery, allowing energy to be stored.

Chances are that not all of the power is going to be directed into the batteries, though. 

There will be a team of engineers keeping an eye out for the energy consumption needs of the grid. 

They will be able to divert power to the batteries when the power grid has lower energy requirements. 

This is important. 

You don’t want to be sending all of the power that you generate into the batteries. 

This would very, very quickly reduce the lifespan of the batteries.

Compressed air storage

Some wind turbines can store energy in the form of compressed air.

Whenever these wind turbines generate excess power, the excess power will be routed to compressed air generation. 

This compressed air will be stored in exceedingly large containers. 

When the wind turbines are not generating enough power, the compressed air will be kicked into action. 

This compressed air will be blown onto an underground wind turbine. 

This will generate power in much the same way as a standard wind turbine. 

This type of storage setup requires a lot more space than a battery setup would require. 

However, it is going to be a lot better for the environment.

Hydrogen fuel cells

This is not commonly used with wind farms at the moment. 

However, this will probably be the cleanest and space-efficient way to store power in the future. 

With hydrogen fuel cells, the excess power used from the wind turbine will be used to power a hydrogen generator. 

The excess power is stored as hydrogen and used to power hydrogen fuel cells.

What are the benefits of storing power from the wind turbine?

At the moment, the bulk of power generated by wind turbines comes at night. 

This is when people are going to be consuming a lot less power. 

This means that by the time the day rolls around, the wind turbine will be producing less energy. 

This means that people are still going to be relying on the burning of fossil fuels to keep their homes powered.

If power from wind turbines can be stored, then we can gradually start to move away from fossil fuels. 

This means that we are going to be having a more positive impact on the environment.

If we can store power then, in theory, entire towns and cities could rely purely on the production of energy generated from wind turbine usage.

In addition to this, storing power can help to prevent energy wastage. 

For most wind farms, all of the energy produced by the wind farm is being pumped directly into the electrical grid. 

A good chunk of this power may not end up being used. 

By having stored power, electrical engineers will be able to release power into the electrical grid depending on current energy consumption needs. 

This means that when we use batteries for wind turbines, we are going to end up being able to squeeze out every bit of potential power from the wind turbine. 

Nothing is going to end up being wasted.

Is wind turbine battery production good for the environment?

No. The biggest concern with battery production is that, in order to produce a battery, you need to mine a wealth of raw materials from the ground. 

This is never going to be a good thing. As we all know, mining is going to be destructive to the environment.

If we plan on storing energy from any renewable power source, we will need to have a lot of batteries. 

This will be a wealth of mining efforts that need to take place. 

Each causing more and more destruction to the environment.

That being said, it is likely that, over time, the actual battery production is probably going to be causing less damage to the environment than non-renewable power sources like fossil fuels would cause.

Conclusion

As standard, wind turbines do not store energy. 

However, energy storage systems can be connected up to wind farms. 

This is something that is going to be exceedingly expensive. 

However, it is something that is worth doing. 

It helps to reduce the reliance that people have on fossil fuels. 

If we can learn how to store renewable power much more effectively, it would be easier for the world to start switching to renewable energy.

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