Falklanders to reap wind energy -- with their car batteries
May 14, 2011 - energycentral.com
The Falkland Islands could become the world's first territory to be mainly powered by a revolutionary combination of wind power and electric car batteries.
Seven wind turbines already provide the islands with more than half of their electricity needs. The rest is generated by costly diesel imported to power generators.
But because the South Atlantic winds often gust well above the average of 10mph, the manager of the wind farm, Glenn Ross, has adapted the pitch of the blades so that they provide a constant flow of electricity rather than providing occasional excess energy.
Levelling the output means less diesel is needed to balance the wind power output, but the islands still want to store surplus wind energy. And in a ground-breaking move, the government in the capital Port Stanley has given the go-ahead to investigate using electric cars to store excess energy in their batteries, effectively creating one of the world's first independent smart grids.
Ross said: "We are looking at distributed storage in electric cars. At times of high wind we could dial a number and get people to switch on their chargers."
At times of low wind the 3,000 or so islanders could plug their car batteries into the grid to power general usage.
Combining the fixed wind power output with electric storage is a model that could be exported to other islands similarly dependent on imported diesel, said Ross.
"This could work on a Scottish island -- we share similar weather," he added.