The U.K. is producing so much power from wind turbines the electricity price went negative for the longest period in the country’s history.
One of the biggest concerns with renewable energy is what to do when the wind stops blowing or the sun stops shining. But sometimes you can have the opposite problem, like last week in the U.K. when the wind blew so hard electricity prices went negative.
For several hours at night on June 7, electricity prices in Britain hit rock bottom, making this the longest prices have been negative in U.K. history. Back in March, electricity prices went negative twice in one day, the first that’s ever happened.
The U.K. isn’t alone, either. Denmark has repeatedly produced more wind power than it can consume over the past several days, and turbines are producing high amounts of energy across the continent. This can pose some problems for utilities looking to get rid of their excess power. Some countries, like Denmark, can sell their excess power to neighboring countries. But ideally, excess electricity could be stored for later use. Unfortunately, storing electricity from renewable sources is not easy.
As renewable energy becomes more prevalent, countries are going to have to figure out ways to store that energy for long periods of time. Energy storage can smooth out the power grid, and a constant power supply is better than one that always fluctuating, even if a fluctuating grid sometimes provides free power.
This article was originally written for and published by Popular Mechanics USA.