The problem with wind power is that its production is variable and difficult to predict. From the perspective of a power supply company, such a supplier is unreliable and likely to de-stabilise the power network.
For instance, at 2am in Ireland, when the demand for electricity is near its lowest, if a 40mph wind is blowing across the country, wind can be supplying up to 30% of the demand. However, if the wind picks up to 50mph, the wind farms shut down to protect their mechanisms and suddenly you lose 30% of your supply! The electricity supply companies have to scramble to bring power stations online to meet the sudden fall off.
In CIX, we have come up with a strategy for Data Centre’s to act as a flywheel for electricity supply companies. This will allow the supply companies to greatly increase the amount of green energy they buy. And if the Data Centre’s are burning biodiesel then you are in a win-win situation .
It seems we are not alone in our thinking – Google, no-less, has come up with a similar strategy using cars! Yes cars. You’d think that with all their data centres they’d use them in the way we propose but they have decided to go the ‘vehicle to grid’ route for now.
Google’s strategy is modify hybrid cars so that they can consume power from the grid. These new ‘plug-in hybrids’ achieve 70-100mpg.
These plug-in hybrids take power from the grid overnight at times of low demand, say. Then the batteries in these cars, which store electricity, can ‘sell’ electricity back to the grid at times of high demand.
Check out the Google video on this to see what I mean:
A cute idea but one which would have to achieve massive scale before making a difference, I suspect.