Sometimes there are significant events or milestones that occur without grabbing the headlines. This is probably the case when we refer to the recent achievements of a Spanish company called Torresol.
They recently celebrated what should be considered a very significant moment for the solar industry, by becoming the first solar power plant to generate uninterrupted electricity for 24 hours non-stop.
One of the major issues relating to solar power energy so far has been the lack of ability to provide energy resources in real-time rather than storing up reserves.
The power tower design pioneered by Torresol uses a field of 2,650 mirrors that are able to concentrate sunlight onto a boiler in the central receiver tower. It also uses molten salt as a heat-transfer fluid to generate electricity when there is no sunlight.
The average length of time that the plant can produce electricity is 20 hours in each day but 24 hours’ continuous supply was achieved during a number of hot sunny days. Even managing 20 hours a day is considered quite a milestone in solar power developments.
This is a good example of technology working to create reliable renewable energy. Many more domestic consumers are also embracing initiatives like smart meter installation to keep a check on their consumption.
There are only a few sites around the globe that current use power tower technology but with energy customers being more aware of their consumption habits and the possibility of real-time energy like solar power, the future of energy supply and consumption is taking shape.
New generation of wind turbines
Domestic customers are also becoming more aware of initiatives like the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund, which you may be able to use in order to take advantage of the new generation of wind turbines.
The latest micro wind turbines currently produce a small amount of power so aren’t yet ready to become you sole energy source. However, as our knowledge of wind turbine technology is rapidly evolving, there could be a situation in the near future where you may be able to harness wind power to a far greater extent.
Energy suppliers have become much more proactive in helping you to manage your energy account, and you should therefore be able to identify which tariff would suit your circumstances best of all, if you start using wind turbines to generate some of your electricity.
At least 20% more power
The American company GE recently unveiled a new line of wind turbines that have the ability to generate at least 20% more power than their predecessors.
Wind companies are constantly striving to make their next model more efficient than their last and GE have achieved this by improving design and through innovation. Coal and gas supplies are becoming less tenable over time, so these improvements in technology and welcome and needed.
The latest wind turbines from GE set a new benchmark as they are different to what we have seen before.
They use a short-term grid-scale battery storage system which is then paired with what can be described as an industrialised version of the internet. This sophisticated setup works by calculating when power will be needed and also when the wind will be blowing.
Micromanaging the ebb and flow of supply and demand and positioning the turbines for optimal rotation has resulted in much greater efficiency when combined with the larger turbines they are using.
Frequency regulation and Smoothing the demand pattern
Predicting and managing demand for power is one of the constant challenges facing all energy providers. Frequency regulation is a complex aspect of any grid operation and gas and coal power plants often have to work flat out just to ensure they have the spare capacity when it is needed.
These latest developments are enabling wind turbine operators to muscle their way into the frequency regulation marketplace.
Using the battery storage system developed helps smooth out the peaks and troughs in the demand pattern. It opens up the opportunity for the grid to store extra electricity into the battery system and is much more viable in terms of costs, than frequency regulation of fossil fuels on their own.
The new generation of turbines being hooked up to the grid are greatly improving the reliability of renewable energy sources in general.
It opens up the distinct possibility that in the future, renewable energy sources like the new breed of wind turbines will be used to create the backbone on the electricity grid that we all rely on.
These are exciting times for the renewable energy industry. The ability to provide power in real-time using a solar power tower or through super-efficient wind turbines means that we may not need to be so dependent on fossil fuels in the future.
Image source: www.ambergreenenergy.co.uk