Houston startup plans to store wind energy underground  

Posted by Big Gav in , , ,

The Houston Chronicle has an article on a compressed air energy storage project in Texas - Houston startup plans to store wind energy underground.

Texans have long stored oil, natural gas and other forms of energy in underground salt caverns, so it's only natural that a Houston startup wants to store wind energy there, too. The method is in the company's name, Apex-CAES, where CAES stands for compressed air energy storage. The company plans to use electricity at night, when it's cheap, to compress air into an underground cavern. The company then releases the air through turbines to generate electricity when the price is right.

The only thing holding back this 30-year-old technology has been the economics. The difference between the high and low prices in a 24-hour period has not been large enough to generate a reasonable return on the capital investment. Texas' wholesale electricity market and huge nightly wind resource, though, make compressed air energy storage viable, said Jack Farley, CEO of Apex-CAES. Build enough compressed air energy storage, and Texas would never have to burn coal again, and consumers would enjoy even lower electricity prices, he told me.

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