Transcript: Climate Watch Shorts: Breakthroughs in energy storage | Jan 23, 2017

(music plays)

Against a gray sky, an
animated black globe spins. The title of the programs reads "TVO Climate Watch Shorts."

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Nam Kiwanuka. Climate Watch Shorts host."

Nam stands in a beach. She’s in her early forties with curly brown hair. She’s wearing glasses, blue blouse and green jacket.

Nam says WELCOME TO
CLIMATE WATCH
SHORTS
WHERE WE EXAMINE
THE LOCAL IMPACT OF
CLIMATE CHANGE.
WHAT HAPPENS TO
RENEWABLE ENERGY
WHEN THE SUN ISN'T
SHINING OR THE WIND
ISN'T BLOWING?
STORING ENERGY IS JUST AS
IMPORTANT AS GENERATING IT.
HERE'S A LOOK AT
WHAT INNOVATIVE
STORAGE TECHNOLOGIES
COULD MEAN FOR ONTARIO.

A clip shows sunset, a wind turbine, urban traffic, people riding bicycles in a park, a boat sailing

Curtis says ENERGY IS EVERYTHING.
THE WAY I LOOK AT IT,
WE GET ALL OUR ENERGY
FROM THE SUN
AT SOME POINT.
IT EITHER GREW TREES
THAT DIED AND GOT SUNK
AND TURNED TO OIL
AND GAS OR METHANE,
OR IT CREATES HEAT
DYNAMICS THAT CREATE WIND
THAT MOVE THINGS AROUND.
SO, REALLY, THE SUN GIVES US
EVERYTHING THAT WE'VE GOT.
IT GETS STORED IN
FOSSIL FUELS.
IT GETS STORED
IN PLANTS.
IT GETS STORED
IN HUMANS.
AND IT'S HOW WE
HARNESS THAT ENERGY
TO DO WORK FOR US
THAT WE CONTROL
SO WE CAN POWER IT
TO RUN OUR CARS.
BUT, ULTIMATELY, IT ALL
STARTED FROM THE SUN.
IT GETS STORED AND
USED AND MOBILIZED
IN DIFFERENT WAYS
AROUND THE WORLD.
AND HOPEFULLY WE'RE
DOING IT THROUGH
PRODUCTIVE USE AND NOT
USING IT IN A WAY
THAT'S GOING TO
DESTROY OUR PLANET.

Against an aerial view of a city, a slate reads "Saving Energy. Breakthroughs in how we store renewable power."

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Curtis VanWalleghem. President and CEO, Hydrostor." Curtis is in his late thirties, clean-shaven with short brown hair. He wears a light blue shirt.

Curtis says I REALIZE HOW IMPORTANT
STORAGE WOULD BE
IF WE WERE TO MOVE TO
A RENEWABLE-BASED
ENERGY SYSTEMS.
SO TO GET OFF COAL
AND GAS AND OIL,
WE REALLY NEED
ELECTRICITY TO DOMINATE.
AND IF ELECTRICITY
IS GOING TO DOMINATE
FROM RENEWABLE SOURCES
YOU NEED STORAGE.
WHEN MY OLDER BROTHER
HAD HIS FIRST KIDS,
I FELT A LITTLE BIT
OF RESPONSIBILITY
THAT CLIMATE CHANGE IS A BIG
PROBLEM FOR OUR GENERATION.
AND I FELT LIKE I
WANTED TO DO SOMETHING
SO THAT WHEN THEY GROW UP
I CAN KIND OF LOOK THEM
IN THE EYE AND SAY
I AT LEAST TRIED.

A slate appears on a plant door. It reads "Hydrostor brought the world’s fist compressed air storage system online on Toronto Island in 2015. Having proven the concept with this 1 MW system, the company is now bidding on projects that would store as much as 50 MW with this underwater technology."

Curtis says WE'RE KIND OF BOTTLING
WIND, IF YOU WOULD.
WE'RE TAKING THIS
MACHINE AND CREATING
PRESSURIZED AIR, STORING
THAT UNDERWATER,
AND THEN BRINGING UP
THAT PRESSURIZED AIR.
THIS IS THE MAIN
PIPE CONNECTING
THE UNDERWATER
SYSTEM TO THE PLANT.
SO YOU'LL SEE THIS
12 INCH DIAMETER PIPE DRILLED
ABOUT A KILOMETRE AND
A HALF INTO LAKE ONTARIO
WHERE THE UNDERWATER
AIR CAVITY SITS.
SO THERE THE AIR GETS ALL
STORED AT THE SAME PRESSURE
AS FOUND AT THE LAKEBED
ABOUT 65 METRES DEEP.

An animation shows the process explained. A caption reads "Courtesy of Hydrostor."

He continues I'LL OPEN A VALVE
HERE AND YOU CAN HEAR
THE AIR COMING BACK.
THIS IS WHAT TURNS
THAT TURBINE.

[air hissing]
The caption changes to "Alex Ip. The Sargent Group, University of Toronto." Alex is in his twenties, clean-shaven with short black hair. He wears a plaid blue shirt.

Alex says THE AMOUNT OF
SUNLIGHT HITTING THE EARTH
OVER THE COURSE OF A DAY
IS 1,000 TIMES MORE
THAN WE WOULD NEED OVER
THE COURSE OF A YEAR.
WE JUST NEED TO FIGURE
OUT HOW, NOT ONLY
CAN WE HARVEST THE
ELECTRICITY FROM IT;
WE NEED TO FIGURE
OUT HOW TO STORE IT.
IN THE FUTURE, NOT
TOO DISTANT FUTURE
WE'RE GONNA HAVE A REALLY
BIG SUPPLY OF CHEAP
AND CLEAN ELECTRICITY.

He walks into a laboratory, puts on a pair of gloves and says SO THIS IS OUR QUANTUM DOTS,
WHICH IS OUR SOLAR INK.
YOU CAN IMAGINE A
NEWSPAPER PRINTING,
BUT INSTEAD YOU'RE
PRINTING OUT SOLAR CELLS.
YOU CAN KIND OF
PUT THEM ANYWHERE.
AND HAVE SOLAR ELECTRICITY
GENERATED ON MAYBE
EVERY SERVICE
EVENTUALLY.
BATTERIES ARE A GREAT OPTION
FOR STORING ELECTRICITY
OVER SHORTER
PERIODS OF TIME.
AND STORING IN CHEMICAL
FUELS IS SOMETHING
THAT YOU NEED OVER
LONG PERIODS OF TIME.

Curtis says WE
CALL IT EXTREMELY
ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY
UNDERWATER AIR BATTERY.
WE LOOK AT CITIES THAT
NEED PEAKING POWER.
EVERY COSTAL CITY, WE CAN
DO THAT RIGHT DOWNTOWN
AND ALLOW SOLAR
PANELS ON THE ROOF
AND ALL THE ENERGY TO
BE PRODUCED, CONSUMED,
STORED RIGHT IN
THE CITY.

An aerial view of Ontario at night appears.

Alex says THERE'S GOING TO BE
LOTS OF DIFFERENT OPTIONS
FOR ENERGY STORAGE IN ORDER
TO ENABLE US TO STORE
ALL OUR DIFFERENT SORTS
OF RENEWABLE ELECTRICITY.

Curtis says WE NEED ALL MINDS,
ALL DIFFERENT TECHNOLOGIES,
BECAUSE THIS PROBLEM
IS BIGGER THAN
ANY COMPANY.
I THINK WE'VE DISPROVED A
LOT OF PEOPLE THAT SAID
RENEWABLE ENERGY
WILL NEVER BE THERE.
RENEWABLE AND THE RIGHT TYPE
OF STORAGE CAN BE CHEAPER
THAN FOSSIL FUEL TODAY.
I THINK IT'S PRETTY CLEAR
WHERE THE WORLD'S GOING.

The caption changes to "Music by Stefan Banjevic and Skydive Hotel."

(music plays)

A final slate reads "TVO.org/climatewatch."

Watch: Climate Watch Shorts: Breakthroughs in energy storage