The U.K. government has funded an energy storage trial on a wind farm using an electrical innovation: a battery. The new device, a vanadium redox flow battery, is believed to be able to revolutionize the global renewables sector by its supporters.

Renewable sources of power such as solar and wind are often intermittent, which creates a huge need to store the power generated in peak hours to supply the shortage in troughs.

The redox flow devices will be tested on Gigha, the first community-owned grid-connected wind farm in Scotland. The wind farm has had to limit output because of a shortage of grid capacity and has had no way of storing the excess until now. The batteries will allow the community to store electricity for sale and help stabilize supply.

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The battery trial in Scotland has drawn attention from renewable developers and policymakers, including the Scottish government’s energy minister, who inspected the battery devices earlier this month.

Timothy Cornelius, chief of tidal power developer Atlantis Resources Ltd., said the Gigha trial is “of extreme interest” and his company will “fully subscribe to the idea that storage is the revolution.”

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Scott McGregor, chief executive of the device’s developer, redT, said the technology is “ready to scale.” Vanadium flow batteries have already been put in use or commercialized in countries like Japan and Germany (Mure Dickie, Financial Times, Sept. 13).

Reprinted with permission from E&E Publishing

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