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reply to Kearnstd

Re: GravityLight: lighting for developing countries.

said by Kearnstd:

said by lugnut :

I've always wondered why the bit electric utilities haven't applied similar technology to windmill power. It seems trivial to me to use a water pump to fill a tank or reservoir to capacity when the wind is blowing and then flow it back down thru a generator once the wind stops and you have to go on reserve power.


pumped storage generation has been done. Commonly used for peaking needs. water is pumped up at night and then flows out during peak usage in the daytime.

Interesting. It was built in 1928 and it's still in operation today. So why are the utility companies not building more of them today? I live in the province of Ontario where about 90% of our electricity comes from Nuclear Stations and Niagara Falls.and any other smaller hydro generating stations. The remainder comes from oil and gas fired plants and more recently wind turbines and other "green" sources.


At any rate, there's a huge political push in this province to switch to greener sources and there's been a scandalous history of mismanagement of our utilities by our government which has left the infrastructure inadequate and overpriced and non profitable for decades for which every resident of this province pays dearly.

It seems that current political will in this part of the world is willing to spare no expense to invest in solar and wind (despite the painful and costly lessons learned by the Germans and the Danes) while engaging in expensive boondoggles like selling surplus power back across the US border at below cost during low demand hours.

At any rate, in my own humble estimation, politicians are too mesmerized by their own rhetoric about windmills and solar and battery research to even consider investing today in 84 year old technology to make the entire process more efficient.

For our politicians it seems to make more sense to install "smart" electric meters to further rape the ratepayers than to invest in a century old technology to store some of that wasted energy for the peak demand hours.

Nonetheless, you cite only one example of this technology. Is it in widespread use across America or was Connecticut the only state with the foresight and political will to implement and maintain such a significant and useful project back in the 20's?? (Note it was built one year before the market crash of 1929)

Has anyone else built any of these anywhere since?

Farmington, MI
Both the U.S. and Canadian hydroelectric installations in Niagara Falls use reservoir energy storage. Fill at night with water from above the falls, drain during high demand (day) through the generators and it exits below the falls.

As for the general usefulness of reservoir storage, they take up a LOT of space per KWH stored, plus the turnaround efficiency isn't all that great. Plopping a big storage lake in the middle of an area creates its own eco-issues and likely displaces a bunch of people, may require a massive public works project to contour the land properly, etc.

Space Elf
Mullica Hill, NJ
reply to lugnut
A big reason they do not build more is land, you need the right land or do lots of digging to make the lake. Also it is highly unpopular to displace people. Candlewood flooded a small town, Outside of China you could never relocate a town today just to build a hydro plant because the citizens of the town would tie it up in court for decades. And in the end it would likely cost more than just building a nuke.
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports