I’ve added a hot new business plan to the list I’m now featuring. I spoke yesterday with Joe Speace, CEO of “Project Renewable Energy” near Kansas City, whose raising capital for a wind farm that will feature compressed air energy storage (CAES). This looks quite strong.
Storage will be a big deal soon, as the penetration of renewables increases and the intermittence of solar and wind starts to become an issue. I’m hearing about it connected with an increasing number of deals in this space.
And CAES is far more efficient than it sounds. When I first heard about it, I asked, “You’re going to take mechanical energy (a spinning wind turbine), turn it into electrical energy, power a compressor, then, on demand, somehow release the compressed air to turn a turbine and generate electrical energy — again? Doesn’t that sound like a disaster in terms of efficiency?” It turns out that it’s close to 90%!
And what about the huge underground caverns that store the compressed air? Some are man-made, some naturally formed, e.g., those that formerly held natural gas. Don’t they leak at high pressure? Yes, but there is a technology for plugging leaks.
Impressive stuff. And again, that stuff will become increasingly important as time goes by.