A year ago I blogged about Greenpeace starting their “Windgas” tariff.
“Windgas” is the idea to store surplus wind energy as hydrogen, which can be used in the existing gas infrastructure to store around 120 TWh in Germany, which beats the 30 TWh storage capacity necessary to run a renewable-only electricity system in Germany by a large margin. This is one of the obvious solutions of the storage problem, and Greenpeace is going right ahead with it.
Their customers pay a voluntary surcharge of 0.4 cents per kWh to develop and install the technology. I would sign up immediately if I lived in Germany and had a chance to do so.
As of now, these customers only get normal gas from Greenpeace. But now Greenpeace has a press release out on their project at Suderburg. Thanks to Klimaretter for the link. They operate a wind park there, and they have good connections to the gas grid. Windgas production will start next year.
While some people might object that the low efficiency of the process will result in high costs, actually that is not relevant. The gas will be produced in time slots when there is zero market for the electricity anyway and the clean energy would just be wasted completely. This situation has happened already, leading to closing down generators, and it will increase in frequency with ever more renewable capacity installed. If you get the electricity at zero cost, it doesn’t matter how much you get back later for the electricity after burning the hydrogen. It will be always more than zero.