POWER TO THE PEOPLE
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