A recent project in Germany combines two forms of renewable generation in order to keep the energy flowing.
What happens when the sun stops shining and the wind fails to blow? This issue has been one of the key considerations for countries looking to switch more of their energy production to sustainable sources. The nature of gathering electricity from renewables has always been fairly unpredictable due to the weather.
In Germany, a drive to produce 45% of energy through renewables by 2030, and 100% by 2050, has seen a recent surge in wind turbine developments. One recent project has a unique method of ensuring energy production continues even if the wind doesn't blow.
Wind and water
Four new wind turbines have been constructed in the southwestern region of Baden-Württemberg. They are impressive in stature: standing nearly 200 metres high, they are the tallest ever built. But it is their built in 'batteries' that make them unique. Each turbine has a tank in its base that can hold 1.6 million gallons of water. When it's windy, and energy demand is low, the turbines pump underground water up into the tanks for future use. When the wind stops, the turbines release the water downhill to power a turbine and produce energy.
This all-weather solution is an ingenious way to make renewable energy more reliable. This short video from GE explains how the turbines work: