According to a Jan. 17, 2013 story in Reuters, Belgium is planning to address one of the great problems facing wind power by building an artificial island in the North Sea as a kind of power storage facility for its growing system of wind farms. The plan is part of a project by the European country to transfer from nuclear power to renewable energy such as wind and solar.
The way the system would work is that when supply exceeds demand for wind energy, the excess power would be used to pump water out of a small lake that would be situated in the middle of the donut shaped island. When demand excess the supply, water would be allowed to flow back into the lake through electric turbines, providing the needed excess power.
The scheme addresses a vexing problem facing wind energy. When the winds are blowing briskly, wind farms generate a great deal of electricity, often more than is required by the grid. But when the winds are calm, not enough electricity is generated, requiring that other forms of electric generation kick in. The island sized power storage facility would be a way to smooth out the peaks and valleys for Belgium’s wind power system, making it more viable.