We all know that wind turbine and other solar power is a fantastic idea, but many people fear its reliability. After all, we can’t make the sun shine or the wind blow. But what about storing that energy for cloudy or windless days?
ARES’ technology uses heavy rail cars that are pushed to the top of a grade using excess power from renewable energy plants or when electricity demand is low. Then, when the wind drops, the sun stops shining, or electricity demand rises, the rail cars are released back down the hill, generating electricity through regenerative braking.
Because the system doesn’t rely on the use of water like the aforementioned ocean-based systems, the company says the technology is suitable for a wider variety of areas with minimal environmental impact. The company says the system can also respond to increases or decreases in demand in a matter of seconds, boasts a charge/discharge efficiency of 86 percent, and can deliver constant power for periods of up to eight hours.
Here’s a neat video from ARES showing how excess energy from the wind turbines can be used to push heavy electric trains up a hill. It has to do with harnessing gravity, so that we can still enjoy and utilize electricity when we need it.