Expanding the Wind Power Market by Making Wind Dispatchable
Clean Technology 2008

Expanding the Wind Power Market by Making Wind Dispatchable

D. Marcus
General Compression, US

wind power, dispatachable wind, compressed air energy storage (CAES)

In recent decades the cost of wind power has dropped tenfold, with current turbine manufacturers selling turbines as fast as they can make them. Yet wind power is undervalued because conventional systems turn intermittent wind into intermittent power. For wind power to go mainstream, it must be dispatchable. Addressing the dispatchability problem, General Compression develops systems with proprietary wind-powered compressors–rather than generators–in turbine nacelles, capturing wind’s kinetic energy as potential pressure energy in compressed air. The systems include underground storage for the compressed air and expander-generator plants connecting to the grid. Wholly complementary to existing wind power, Dispatchable Wind™ plants will be constructed in firming, peak, and base configurations that can respectively enhance conventional wind-power output, compete with natural-gas peaker and combined-cycle plants, and compete with coal and nuclear plants. In addition, energy park configurations can provide low-cost power to energy-intensive industries in locations where outstanding wind resources are stranded due to insufficient local power demand and/or transmission capacity. By complementing conventional wind, Dispatchable Wind technology is positioned to expand wind power’s market, meet customers’ and grid operators’ needs, and transform wind from being one of the lowest-paid and least-reliable generators to one of the highest-paid and most-reliable.