Hydrogen Storage Solutions for an Intermittent Energy Source: Solar

Boston,MA United States

Today, energy is either transmitted directly to the consumer through the grid or stored as backup power for future use via batteries, pumping water, etc. When it comes to solar and wind energy, it becomes extraordinarily difficult to take full advantage of the renewable sources using traditional methods of power transmission due to the varied locations of consumers and their pace of consumption. Why solar farms need storageSimply put, “We need storage because the sun doesn’t shine at night,” Dr. David Wogan wrote in the Scientific American.Rapidly advancing technologies like energy storage are required to compensate for the short-term volatility of renewable energy sources. When integrating solar, for instance, power plant owners and grid operators face three major challenges:

Uncontrollable variability: Solar output varies in ways that generation operators cannot control, because sunlight may vary from moment to moment, affecting moment-to-moment power output. This fluctuation in power output results in the need for additional energy to balance supply and demand on the grid on an instantaneous basis, as well as ancillary services such as frequency regulation and voltage support.

Partial unpredictability: The availability of sunlight is partially unpredictable as solar PV systems require the presence of sunlight in order to operate.

Location dependence: Solar resources are based in specific locations and—unlike coal, gas, oil or uranium—can not be transported to a generation site that is grid-optimal. Generation must be co-located with the resource itself, and often these locations are far from the places where the power will ultimately be used. New transmission capacity is often required to connect solar resources to the rest of the grid.

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