The Tracker seems to recall some northern plains state politician saying his constituents could make lots of green money off windpower even without new electric lines to take the it to where there are cities. The solution: make hydrogen with the juice and put the H2 in trains or pipes for delivery. But I haven't heard of that idea since.
Now a variant is on the AP wire from Susan Montoya Bryan. A startup in New Mexico called Jetstream Wind Inc. says it has raised $219 million to capture wind and perhaps solar energy to generate as much as ten megawatts of electricity, use that to liberate hydrogen and oxygen from water via hydrolysis, and then burn the stored hydrogen and get considerably less electricity than what was already there part way through. The advantage is that one could keep a big enough buffer tank of hydrogen so that the electricity does not depend on when the sun shines or the wind blows. The disadvantage of course is that the process has a lot of efficiency-robbing steps.
Seems worth a try but also worth a harder look. To be sure, it's a business story, not an investigation of the business model. One does not expect a treatise on energetics. The company presumably has the money (although form where, it does not say), it intends to build a facility and hire people, and that's justifiably enough to make the wire. Montoya in fact goes beyond what some biz writers might do - she gets some outside opinion (albeit fairly friendly) on the project's plausibility. One wants, nonetheless, more info before thinking this is among the better choices. Is it better than thermal solar power in which molten salt, briefly stored in tanks, allows steam generators to keep turbines and generators spinning around the clock? How about the full-up efficiency of this idea compared to biofuels from crops? - vegetation after all grows on solar power.
*UPDATE - Just noticed that at Yale's environment360 site science writer Jon R. Luoma has an extended look at just the problem this start-up claims to be able to dent: how to store solar and wind energy efficiently and thus smooth out the delivery rate. He seeks to debunk the idea that this is an insoluble barrier, and says a "furious" research effort is underway to get past it. I'll pardon him the Holy Grail metaphor. It's a well-founded roundup, starting with the soon-possible, such as compressed air storage and perhaps lithium ion batteries in parked cars, to those that are farther out there. The ultra-capacitors sound sweet. Idle question: what ever happened to flywheels for energy storage?
Finally, as seen immediately before, the company announced its plans in April. It is not clear why it is news now. One guesses it may be that the company has now selected the location.
Grist for the Mill: Jetstream Wind Press Release ;