The big missing piece to the wind-solar puzzle is….

SolveClimateThis file is from the Open Clip Art Library, which released it explicitly into the public domain, using the Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication: A massive energy storage system that can guarantee uninterrupted power delivery. Meaning: clean electricity all the time, even when the winds aren’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. And now there’s a battery unit being produced in Japan that claims it can provide just that. They’re called sodium-sulfur systems. And they offer a way to store power from the sun and wind, and then dispatch it to the grid when demand is greatest.

It’s welcome news if they can pull it off. Because without that missing piece, solar and wind will continue to play second fiddle to fossil fuels. Bloomberg has the full story on the sodium-sulfur batteries — and their Japanese maker too, NGK Insulators Ltd.

In Japan, the NAS storage units — as NGK calls them — have been a hit. They’re used at over 30 sites already, totaling 28 megawatts. But in the US they’re still an anomaly with just two customers. American Electric Company is one of them. The coal giant has been testing a 1.2 megawatt NAS system since mid-2006 but not in connection with renewables at all. And Xcel Energy is the other. It will be the first American utility to use NAS for wind energy storage beginning in October, when it starts testing a one-megawatt system in Minnesota….


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