We are facing two crises of a magnitude that is hard to comprehend: The climate crisis and the energy crisis. Oftentimes they are handled as separate issues, but the fact is that they are connected, both in terms of causes and solutions. At Mine Storage, we aim to provide part of the solution for both crises and thereby contribute to a sustainable future.
The climate is changing and the world has agreed that we need to act in order to stop the current negative spiral. Global climate goals have been set, but so far we have been slow in acting upon them. To stop global warming we need to speed up the sustainable energy transition, by increasing renewable energy production, by investing in decarbonization, by increasing electrification, and by optimizing our energy consumption.
Interestingly, these three climate measures are also key issues in solving the energy crisis. To tackle the rising energy prices we need to increase energy production and optimize energy consumption. When doing so, we also need to accommodate for the exponentially rising demand in energy that electrification will bring.
If we are to tackle the energy crisis without worsening the climate crisis, it is crucial that new energy production is fossil free, such as solar power and wind power. The problem with renewable energy is that it is often weather dependent, or intermittent, meaning it generates energy unevenly dependent on when the sun is up and the wind blows. Energy production from renewables is even more difficult to match to our energy consumption patterns.
Why is this a problem? Because our electricity grids are real-time systems that are constructed in such a way that in order to keep the frequency constant, and our gadgets and equipment from breaking, the electricity grid needs to be balanced so that production and consumption happens exactly at the same at every given moment. Energy system that will rely mainly on intermittent energy require that we compensate for the imbalance between production and consumption.
Enter mine storage as an important solution and Mine Storage as provider of this solution.
The bulk of the world’s energy used to come from baseload production, i.e. sources where the production can be planned ahead and often regulated: water in dams and power plants using nuclear power, coal, oil or gas for example. This ensured stability in the system and made sure energy was available when needed. However, with the exception of hydropower (that greatly impacts the marine lift of the river), all these energy sources have a significant environmental impact through pollution, CO2 emissions or hazardous waste. In fact, nearly a third of the current CO2 emissions come from fossil based electricity production.
As we continue the sustainable energy transition from brown to green energy production, we need to add stability to a sustainable energy system through demand flexibility and new forms of energy storage which are able to both store large quantities of energy for later release, and to respond fast to regulate grid frequency. This is exactly what a mine storage does.
Just like the huge water dams in for example northern Sweden, a mine storage uses water to store energy, but in a closed mine instead of in an open system connected to a river. When there is an overproduction of electricity, water is pumped to a higher level. And when demand supersedes the production, it is released through a turbine, thereby generating energy. Mines have the advantage of built-in elevation, meaning mine storages can work also in flat countries/areas. They are also widely available: there are more than 1 million abandoned mines in the world. By converting abandoned mines into mine storages, the mines become circular assets generating energy and creating jobs.
The company Mine Storage is a forerunner in the mine storage field and has come far in developing technologies, software, ways of working and financial models for how a mine storage could be built and operated.
For more information about Mine Storage, continue reading.