Too Much Wind Energy? Save It in Volcanic Rock Reservoirs (National Geographic)

To manage a surplus of intermittent renewable power, U.S. scientists propose underground compressed air storage in porous volcanic rock.

To manage a surplus of intermittent renewable power, U.S. scientists propose underground compressed air storage in porous volcanic rock. (Photo credit: Flickr user amitp)

Gusting winds and swelling rivers bless the U.S. Pacific Northwest with an abundance of renewable energy resources in the spring and early summer. So much, in fact, that at times in recent years the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), a federal utility, has forced wind farm owners to curb their output to keep electricity generation in balance with the rise and fall of demand on the grid.

Now a new solution for the region’s seasonal energy glut is on the table. Recent research from scientists at BPA and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory suggests porous rocks deep in the Earth could store the wind’s intermittent power and make it possible to deploy renewable energy on command.

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