One of the main problems with renewable energy, especially wind and solar energy, is the fact that it cannot be produced at all times. While solar energy generating systems shut down or produces less power during an overcast day or after dark, the output of a wind farm too is dependent on the prevailing climate. Moreover, energy storage systems are too expensive and cannot be deployed all over the world. As a solution to this problem, authorities in Belgium are planning to build an artificial island, which will serve as a cost-efficient way to store excess renewable energy from its offshore wind farms.
The island, which will be built in the shape of a donut using sand in the North Sea, will be about three kilometers off the coast and will have a hollow right in its center. While no batteries will be placed along the island, the idea to store renewable energy is relatively simple. When excess power is being generated, it will be used to pump water out of the hole into the ocean and when power is needed, the same water will be thrown back into the hole using pipes and energy generating turbines.
Dvice notes that Belgium produces only four percent of its energy from wind power, but that amount is set to quadruple by 2020. To reach the target and reduce the dependence on nuclear power plants, the donut-shaped island is what Belgium needs.