Welcome to the energy revolution – the new normal

The world is currently on the cusp of a major technology change. Advances in technologies like solar power, battery storage, electric vehicles and driver-less cars are already changing the world as we know it.

Germany, along with many other forward thinking countries, is rapidly moving away from fossil fuels and increasingly seeing the value that renewable energy has.  As a part of the country’s energy transition, Germany is building four massive wind turbines that are filled with water. When the wind blows, the spinning blades draw water up from the river below.  During periods of peak demand, the water is then gravity fed into the hydro-power station below.

The 246.5-metre tall turbine creates hydro-electricity as well as wind power. The water within the turbines will also act as a giant battery that will discharge and control output.  Literally, forward thinking is in the air.

Hydro Wind Turbine

It is happening in our backyard as well.  Thanks to innovative projects like the one in Germany, the way that we think about energy production and consumption is changing. Often when energy is generated it goes straight to the main grid. If there aren’t enough customers using power at that time then energy prices can go into low or even negative territory. However, thanks to new technology making energy storage easier, invisible revolutions such as the one that recently began in our own back yard are helping to eliminate energy waste.

Glen Innes is the first place in Asia-Pacific to install a grid-scale battery storage system. This means that energy is used as it is required rather than burning out to nothing, if left unused. This is especially beneficial for colder months when energy consumption tends to be a lot higher.

Not only does this technology prevent commodity waste, but it gives us a capital cost saving by removing the generating infrastructure for peak demand. Electricity can now be stockpiled either as elevated water, drawn by a wind turbine or by a battery bank.  This sort of energy solution was not on the radar 5 years ago, so imagine where we will be on this matter in 10 years from now.

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