Wind-powered pumped-storage project planned off Dutch coast

A partnership of consultants, engineers, and designers proposes to build a wind-powered pumped-storage �energy island� off the coast of the Netherlands that would utilize commercially available hydropower generators.

KEMA of the United States, a unit of N.V. KEMA of the Netherlands, said September 13 it is working on the project in partnership with engineering firms Bureau Lievense and technology illustrators Rudolph and Robert Das. They designed the energy island, to store power from an offshore wind farm, as the result of an ongoing feasibility study for Dutch energy companies.

The project, dubbed an �inverse offshore pump accumulation station,� would be built on an artificial island comprising a ring of dikes surrounding a 50-meter-deep �subsurface� reservoir. The island would be built of materials dredged to deepen the interior reservoir. KEMA estimated the project would have a maximum generating capacity of 1,500 MW.

When there is a surplus of wind energy, the power would be used to pump seawater out of the reservoir into the surrounding ocean. When there is a shortage of wind power, seawater would be allowed to flow back into the reservoir through hydroelectric turbine-generators to produce energy.

KEMA said the next phase of the ongoing feasibility study is to further analyze costs and benefits of additional regulating reserve, carbon dioxide reduction, and environmental effects. It said the energy island also has the potential to provide coastal protection, harbors or liquefied natural gas terminals, aquatic biomass, and eco-tourism.


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