The importance of energy storage and controlling in electrical grids increases due to the growing percentage of fluctuating renewable sources. Different storage technologies are under development. Currently, the storage of electrical energy in the electricity grid is done almost exclusively with well-known pumped storage plants.
The newly developed principle of “Buoyant Energy”, a floating hydraulic energy storage system for offshore storage of electrical energy, presents a completely new approach. The fundamental idea is “a kind of swimming pump storage plant“. The electrical energy is stored completely by the potential energy. The basic principle of Buoyant Energy has been submitted as an international patent application.
The basic approach is simple, but its transfer in a new, highly dynamic environment requires fundamental developments and research mainly in the fields of floating stability, load assumptions, construction methods, technical integration in offshore infrastructure and the very demanding machine concept.
Due to subsidized feed-in tariffs1 in the European Union, like the “Renewable Energies Law”2 in Germany, the portion of renewable energies in the overall power supply has grown considerably in recent years. At the same time, there is no financial incentive for renewable energy power plants to be built, that supply electricity demand-oriented (purchase commitments, fixed rates). This is leading to increasing problems in the power supply system. A growing portion of wind and solar power strongly depends on the development of suitable storage technologies, so that the power supply system can become even more climate-friendly and above all, reliable.
The present European policies (EEG, etc.) are not providing sufficient incentives for such technology innovation. In the course of the amendment of Germanys “Renewable Energies Law” (EEG, 2011) some approaches to change the situation were discussed. The implementation of suitable policies for the integration of storage technologies into the market within the European Union can therefore be expected in the near future.