Via the The Sietch blog, some very, very cool stuff out of the University of Kassel in Germany — the Combined Power Plant:
The secure and constant provision of power anywhere and at anytime by renewable energies is now made possible thanks to the Combined Power Plant. The Combined Power Plant links and controls 36 wind, solar, biomass and hydropower installations spread throughout Germany. It is just as reliable and powerful as a conventional large-scale power station.
The Combined Renewable Energy Power Plant shows how, through joint control of small and decentralised plants, it is possible to provide reliable electricity in accordance with needs. The Combined Power Plant optimally combines the advantages of various renewable energy sources. Wind turbines and solar modules help generate electricity in accordance with how much wind and sun is available. Biogas and hydropower are used to make up the difference: they are converted into electricity as needed in order to balance out short-term fluctuations, or are temporarily stored. Technically, there is nothing preventing us from 100 per cent provision with renewables.
Catch that last sentence? The scientists who developed this thing think it will be possibly to power Germany entirely with renewables — no oil, coal, or nuclear — by mid-century.
Check out this kick-ass video:
Here’s a sketch of how it works: