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Di­nor­wig power sta­tion in Wales is a grav­i­ty­pow­ered en­ergy stor­age unit. Surely the same prin­ci­ple, on a smaller scale and with more units, could con­trib­ute to the need to store en­ergy, es­pe­cially as such units could be built at a frac­tion of the cost of a Di­nor­wig-type fa­cil­ity?

I have no idea how many dis­used ver­ti­cal mine shafts there are in the UK, but I would guess that there quite a few, and many of these will be well over a mile deep. A weight on a ca­ble is low­ered to the bot­tom, at off-peak times it is raised, and on de­mand the de­scend­ing weight drives the gen­er­a­tor. Very low-main­te­nance, low-staffing and eco-friendly… I am aware it may not be a new idea, but sim­ple is best! Dou­glas Scarff, via email We al­ready have so­lu­tions like this dot­ted around the coun­try, in­clud­ing one ap­proach which pumps wa­ter up to reser­voirs at the top of hills and re­leases it through tur­bines dur­ing pe­ri­ods of peak en­ergy de­mand. The na­ture of en­ergy pro­vided by fos­sil fu­els mean we don’t cur­rently tend to rely on these sys­tems that much, but as re­new­able en­ergy be­comes preva­lent we could in­deed see many more sta­tions like this, in­clud­ing large bat­ter­ies in the home, in­stalled around Europe. – Ed

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