Today in Cleantech

The news this week that Google is going to experiment with thermal storage to cool its Taiwan data center is another step toward moving power consumption to the evening. The systems works by drawing power overnight, when it’s cheaper, to freeze a liquid solution that then is thawed during the day, absorbing heat from the chugging servers. This theme of shifting consumption to non peak hours as a tool to “store energy” is not limited to Google’s project. Smart grid startups like Grid Mobility are trying to help industrial sites take renewable energy to do energy intensive applications like heat buildings, when the energy is most abundant, and at risk of not being used (there’s a new concept of “wasted energy” that renewables bring into the equation). And the entire EV infrastructure will be centered around charging at night. It’s hard to see it right now, but as we transition to solar power in many areas, we could be looking at a situation ten years out where there’s actually a power crunch at night.