Pumped hydro energy storage projects don’t come around very often, but when they do they’re always big – and this one is no exception.
Belgium is planning to build a donut-shaped island in the North Sea that will be used to storage excess energy generated by wind turbines. A spokesperson for Johan Vande Lanotte, Belgium’s North Sea minister, explained that the island would have a central reservoir, which would pump out seawater using excess energy generated by wind power.
When the wind drops and/or demand is high, water would be allowed to flow back in from the sea, spinning turbines and generating the required power. The island is planned to be situated 3 km off the Belgian coast.
The country currently produces only four percent of its energy from wind power, but that amount is set to quadruple by 2020. The government representative explained that by creating a dependable storage system for the wind energy, Belgium hopes that this innovative solution will help the country to move away from nuclear power and towards greater use of renewables.