New Jersey electricity company has announced it plans to partner with inventor Michael Nakhamkin in a $20 million USD enterprise to develop a way of storing wind-generated power in underground reservoirs.

Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. (PSEG) said it has signed the agreement with the innovator to exclusively market, license, support the development and supervise project execution of the second generation of Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) technology.

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The technology works by storing off-peak energy in the form of compressed air buried underground, releasing this energy when demand increases.

The technology, designed by Dr. Nakhamkin, has great ramifications for the storage of alternative energy such as wind power, as it allows excess power to be stored and then reused during peak consumption time, or when the wind isn’t blowing.

“Energy Storage and Power’s CAES technology is poised to become an important part of the dispatch stack that can address the intermittency of renewables and reduce on-peak power costs,” said Stephen Byrd, president of PSEG Energy Holdings, the parent company of PSEG Global.

“Our company examined the technology for its own use and decided that the potential was great enough that we wanted a larger role in helping to make compressed air energy storage a technology that is broadly embraced by the electricity sector.

“We believe this technology is an important component of a broad effort to combat climate change, an effort that must includes increased conservation, expanded renewable energy and new clean central power,” he said in a company press release.

Experts have said the technology’s potential is far-reaching and will have a great impact on the alternative energy industry’s ability to store energy.

“Anything that does commercial-scale energy storage is huge,” said John Gardner, a professor of mechanical engineering at Boise State University, in an interview with Bloomberg yesterday. “It can completely change the economic prospects of a wind farm,” he add. Gardner is not involved in the actual venture.

Dr. Nakhamkin, who is chief technical officer of the new venture based in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, says the storage innovation can be used to provide anywhere from 15 to 450 megawatts of power. One megawatt is enough to power around 900 American homes.

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