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Storing Wind Energy

February 23, 2009

Engineers have developed a new way to make wind power more reliable.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
Wind conservation. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The trouble with wind power is that it can change … well, like the wind. Now, electrical engineer Adel Nasiri and his colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee have devised a way to keep wind power flowing steadily. Nasiri says that right now, most wind turbines convert all the available wind energy into electricity, resulting in short bursts of power. He suggests limiting the power output, and letting the blades spin faster and build up momentum when the wind gusts. This creates stored energy, which can be drawn out later as the wind and the blades slow down.

ADEL NASIRI (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee):
So wind speed goes up and down, but the grid receives almost constant power.

HIRSHON:
He says this would be cheaper than storing the energy in a separate device, like a big battery. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the science society.