Friday, May 8, 2009

The answer my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.

I have not been a great believer in wind power. It is unreliable, unpredictable and expensive to set up. However, while driving to appointments yesterday evening, I was listening to the radio and heard how wind power may provide a solution to our economic problems, carbon issues, fossil fuel dependency and unemployment.
This breakthrough national project is being launched by the Spirit of Ireland Group.

A bunch of scientists and engineers, working on ideas proposed by Professor Igor Shvets of Trinity College have an idea to make Ireland energy independent in a few short years.

Like all good ideas it’s really simple.
Listening to the radio last night, I imagined a massive complex solution, but it is so easy, I cannot think why it hasn’t been proposed before!
Instead of using wind turbines in scattered parts of the country to generate electricity, wind turbines are used to pump sea water into high elevation gorges formed during the ice age in the West of Ireland.
Already two ideal sites have been identified and more are possible.
These shallow gorges are blocked up with basic rock dams and filled with sea water when it is windy.
A controlled release of this water produces hydro-power, a reliable and sustainable source of energy that doesn’t suffer from the intermittency of wind power.
Thus the greatest problem with wind is solved by huge “natural batteries”.

The basic plan proposes to:
Locate wind farms in suitable areas to harvest energy
Save the resulting energy in Hydro Storage Reservoirs
Natural energy released from Hydro Storage Reservoirs can be controlled and is ideal for both domestic use and export
Secure energy supplies and save up to €30 billion in hard cash over 10 years on fossil fuel imports

The Projected Costs are not huge in the global scale of things.
To save €15 billion in fossil fuel imports over five years, the country will need to build two Hydro Storage Reservoirs at a cost of €800m each. Wind farms will be connected to these reservoirs via a collection network. The cost of adding 1 MW to the network is €1.3m.

Graham O’Donnell, electrical engineer with 20 years International Power Grid experience and spokesperson, with Professor Igor Shvets, for ‘Spirit of Ireland’ is asking people to now consider the role that we can all play in improving the state of our nation, ‘We want to get people talking about this initiative and realising that there is much we can do to determine our future. We must decide, as a nation, if we want to take this route to prosperity. We can be the controllers of our country’s financial and environmental destiny. If people want to “have their say”, we want to hear them and would encourage the public to register their opinion at’. Log on to hear more. If this is viable, it is great news for a change.


  1. Hi Pat,

    It's agood idea as windpower is not always constant. the biggest problem with windpowewr at the moment is the enormous amount of energy lost transferring the powerf from the rotor at the top of the tower to the station at the base, and loss of power in transference to a substation, so as long as the farm is close to the hydro site it makes a lot of sense.

    If there was a wave station collecting power at the base of the HEP station, you could possibly double you energy generation yet again and halve your overheads as well.

  2. Thanks Kevin,it is a great idea, but like all ideas, open to refinement, I am sure. See for an update.