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Belgian Sea Power

by Colman Fri Jan 18th, 2013 at 10:17:05 AM EST

Off-shore power storage:

Belgium is planning to build a doughnut-shaped island in the North Sea that will store wind energy by pumping water out of a hollow in the middle, as it looks for ways to lessen its reliance on nuclear power.
Five years to build and plan, apparently.

Those are fascinating plans. Excess power to pump the water out, water let back in runs turbines to create power when needed. I wonder what environmental impact this might have, being not too far off the coastline. I wish they'd given the dimension of the "island."

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher
by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Fri Jan 18th, 2013 at 01:05:42 PM EST
According to a Belgian newspaper it would be in the shape of a horseshoe and "slightly more than 2 km wide". Of course there's no concrete plan as yet so the dimension and location might change (and there is a real chance it won't go head at all, politics and especially Belgian politics, being what they are).
by Anspen on Sun Jan 20th, 2013 at 07:35:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm reminded of my Great Battery of Kimberly and Great Battery of Aberdeen Diaries here five and three years ago.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat Jan 19th, 2013 at 09:33:05 AM EST
It's gonna take a pretty big island to do anything useful. Here's a paper that mentions an existing pumped hydroelectric plant in Colorado.

http://www.ceri-mines.org/documents/LargeScaleElectricalEnergyStorageinColorado-BarnesgroupCU_001.pd f

This one has a head of 374 meters (elevation difference between upper and lower reservoirs, and an area of about 7 hectares, and the resulting system can generate 330 MW of power and store 1,300 MWh of energy. That's comparable to the power you get from a smallish coal plant...

With an island, the head would be something like maybe 10 meters at most, I would think. Or less, even, so the area would have to be proportionally greater...

by asdf on Sat Jan 19th, 2013 at 09:57:32 PM EST
One could use the towers of the turbines as reservoirs. www.eurotrib.com/story/2012/8/4/11559/92885#38
by Katrin on Sun Jan 20th, 2013 at 08:09:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If 2km wide means an area of 4km^2 or more, that is 400 hectares or more.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Jan 20th, 2013 at 11:22:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a peculiar idea. Similar ideas were drawn up for the Dutch and the Danes too, under the name "energy islands".

It's peculiar because it's a lot of investment for a little bit of balancing capacity. And in the case of Belgium, Netherlands and Denmark, they already have lots of cheap balancing, because they're each well-connected to their neighbours, and several of their neighbours are much bigger than they are, so the balancing requirement is relatively small.

I note that the Belgian Standaard says in its photo caption:

Hoewel er nog geen concreet plan is, is er wel al een ontwerptekening.

- Although there is no concrete plan, there is a design drawing.

Integrating storage with offshore wind might make sense if transmission costs to shore were a high proportion of system costs, and if they were (more than) proportional to their capacity. Transmission costs can be expensive, but this proposed island is only 3 or 4 km offshore, and the construction costs of the island must be huge by comparison.

by LondonAnalytics (Andrew Smith) on Mon Jan 21st, 2013 at 06:04:19 AM EST

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