FRIDAY 25 JANUARY, 2013 |
Belgium Planning 3km Long 'Battery Island'
Belgium is considering constructing a horseshoe-shaped artificial island with a
three kilometre diameter off its coast to use as an energy storage facility in
conjunction with its offshore wind farms.
According to Russia
, the majority of the island would be occupied by a reservoir. Energy
would be "stored" by using electricity generated by the wind farms to
pump seawater out of the reservoir. Energy would be recovered when required by
allowing the water back into the reservoir via a hydropower plant at the heel of
The project, which would be constructed around three to four kilometres off the coast
of the province of West Flanders, would be a major initiative - taking around five years
to construct and estimated to cost around the same as the wind farms it
Hydro "batteries" have been around for a very long time and small
versions can even be found in some residential off
installations in Australia. Water is pumped via a solar
into tanks at a higher elevation and released and channelled
into micro-hydro systems to generate power when required. The water is then
stored in tanks at lower elevation, ready to be pumped back to the higher tanks.
Over half of Belgium's electricity has been generated by nuclear power in the
past; but with the spectre of the Fukushima disaster still making its presence
felt, the country has been exploring safer and cleaner forms of electricity
production. The nation's nervousness with regard to nuclear was further
heightened last year after cracks were found in two reactors. Those reactors are
yet to be restarted.
According to Phys.org
Belgium currently only sources four percent of its energy from wind power, but the European Wind Energy Association
says the nation will expand capacity to over 4,000 megawatts by 2020.
Belgium's Deputy Prime Minister, Johan Vande Lanotte, says the government is currently seeking potential members for a consortium
to operate the battery island.
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