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Thursday, April 18, 2019

The Little Princess Effect

Twin brothers marry twin sisters.  One of the sisters is a little princess.  She wants it all and she wants it now so they go out and buy everything that bumps and squeaks for their new home.

The other sister says, no.  We will sit on apple boxes and eat off our knees until we have money for a table, then chairs and on and on for all of their house hold appliances and furniture.

Now flash forward 5 years.  Both couples have the same furnishings although the furnishing of the little princess and her husband are a little older and a little more worn.  The main difference is that the little princess and her husband are still paying off their furnishing with interest while Frugal Wife and her husband are  debt free. 

From here on, the frugal couple have all the advantages.  All their salaries are theirs to spend, save, invest or whatever they choose to do with it.

The same principle holds with overseas investments in our business.  It is a little slower if we insist on using our own investment but in the not very long-run we are better off.

An added advantage of the slower approach is that you don't think you have unlimited money and hence waste it on frills.  You are canny with your money and have time to explore the inns and outs of your new business before you commit huge amounts of cash in mistakes.
What have been the results of being little princesses in the past.

We don't do our own banking.  We have had a number of small banks for some time and just recently, the post office started KiwiBank (the tail now wags the dog).  But most of our banking including banking by our government is with Australian banks.  Because we wanted a banking system right away we now loose around a billion dollars every 6 months to Australia.  Imagine what this amount of money staying in a Kiwi bank would do for our economy but we were little princesses.  We wanted it all and we wanted it now.

We don't fish our own waters.  Yes, we have some fishing boats but the main industrial fishing is done by overseas boats.  Recently we had an example of what this results in.  A Korean boat with Indonesian workers was mistreating their workers most abysmally.  The workers asked for asylum in New Zealand and help getting their wages paid.  Later that same boat caught a particularly valuable net of fish and chucked the fish they already had stored in their holds overboard so they would have room for the new fish.  We wanted the fish landed in New Zealand to be cheap so we went for the overseas option, ignoring all the spin offs of doing our own fishing. Now it has been revealed that not all of the fish caught by these foreign boats are even landed in New Zealand.

Note.  A number of times on National Radio it has been estimated by various experts that for every core job, 4 secondary jobs are created. This will apply to all the examples in this blog including fishing.  In fact it is more extreme in the case of fishing.  Just think of the land based infrastructure with their core jobs, needed to repair boats, process fish and so forth.

We don't build our own rail stock.  Despite a BERL report stating that we would need to purchase our rail stock for 38% of the local price, we decided to buy our rail stock overseas.  This rail stock we bought contained asbestos despite the specifications saying that it should be asbestos free and many repairs had to be made including fixing the suspension systems.  Otherwise, at speed the rail cars jumped off the tracks.  Even if the overseas rail stock had been excellent, it would have been a bad decision to buy overseas.  The BERL report didn't even take into consideration the long term benefits, namely the up-skilling of our work force.  With the sophisticated electronics needed in modern rail stock, our work force might have gone on to use the Open source pattens by Tesla to produce the affordable electric car - called, of course, the Kiwi.  Who knows what other spin offs could have occured.

We don't produce all our own baby formula.  We have allowed a Chinese company to gain a foot hold in New Zealand.  There was a big scandal about melamine being added to milk products in China which besmirched our reputation.  We should simply produce the product here in New Zealand and sell it to whomever wants to buy it.

We don't value add our own logs.  China thinks in terms of centuries, we in terms of quarterly reports and single election cycles.  China has given us top dollar for our logs, destroying our milling capacity. China has huge cash reserves from selling goods to America and the rest of the world made by her underpaid work force.  Now China has generously offered to build us a large modern wood milling plant.   We really need to start to think, at least in decades.

We don't bottle our own water.  This really is beyond belief.  We manage the much more complex wine and milk from field to customer.  Surly we can bottle our own water.  It is a license to print money.  And it is about the most cost efficient use of our water.  It takes over 1000 liters of water to produce a liter of milk.  It takes 1.37 liters of water to produce a liter of bottled water.  And in many places the retail price is about the same.  There has been some discussion in New Zealand on putting a price on water.  A price that would be significant for the water bottling industry would cripple our farmers and a price the farmers could survive would be insignificant for the water bottling industry.  All we have to do is to own the bottling companies and tax them as we would any other business.  And..... keep the profits in New Zealand. We took the easy way out and now someone else benefits from the sale of our pure water.

These are just a few of many examples of the Little Princess Effect.  We wanted it all and we wanted it now instead of taking the slower rout with more effort on our part but ending up far better off.  No wonder we don't have the revenue to pay our teachers and medical workers more.  We have thrown away so many jobs, each of which would pay income tax to the exchequer and so much more money flowing through the economy with GST going to the government at each transaction.

We have to start thinking like Frugal Wife.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

My take on terrorism

This is my take on the creation of terrorists; of people capable of the utterly unspeakable events which took place in New Zealand on the 15th of March 2019.  And of what we should do to stop the creation of more terrorists.  Broadly speaking there are three types, two of which are relevant to this conversation.

First there are people who have had their lives disrupted by war and want revenge on the perpetrators.  At least on the face of it, the taking down of the trade centers in New York on 9/11 was such an attack although there remain serious questions about who was actually behind this attack.

The second type are what we characterize as alt-right terrorists.  These are often white supremacists who think that they are justified in going into a mosque and shooting people at prayer.  The atrocity in New Zealand was such an attack.

A third type is a lonely student, bullied by his class mates who shoots up his school. This type is not relevant to this discussion.

 Imagine yourself in a country that has been attacked by a powerful country for no better reason than they want your resources and want to provide business for their arms manufacturing industry. Co religionist countries around you have also been attacked and exploited for their resources. This powerful country assassinates people extra-judicially in your country and in near by countries by flying drones overhead, killing whomever they want to.  Worse still they have no thought about the so called collateral damage (others killed at the same time). They kidnap people and send them to be tortured, often for no better reason that some jealous person said they were a terrorist. They practice a whole series of steps to create regime change in other countries* up to and including sending in their army and then have the utter hypocrisy to  complain when someone even tries to influence their elections.  What would be your attitude to this country.  What would you do.

*Perkins - Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.  Stone and Kuznic - The Untold History of the United States of America

The second type is the white supremacists, they are greatly encouraged and made to feel justified by the actions of that same powerful country that continually foments unjust wars and kills people, usually brown,  in other countries.  This powerful country also behave toward large parts of their own population as if they are inferior.    This gives the white supremacist  nutters tacit encouragement and approval to commit acts such as occurred in New Zealand.  I hope it is clear to you which country we are talking about.

There is yet another motivation for white supremacists.  Recently we have had huge tranches of people migrating all over the world.  A large proportion of these are from countries that America has stirred up with her never ending wars.  The refugees don't want to be in our countries.  They would much rather stay at home and live  a peaceful existence.  Their home countries have been made uninhabitable and they have been given no choice but to immigrate.

A disproportionate percent of these immigrants are young men.  In Rotherham in Northern England, in  Germany and in Sweden to name a few locations, a rape culture has developed.  Just having a huge influx of single men into a society is already a formula for unrest amongst the indigenous population exacerbated, possibility, by a different "dress culture" which makes these young men think the local women are fair game.  Whatever the reason, having a group of men, easily identified as 'others' raping your women is a power keg waiting to be ignited.  Most of the population does not resort to acts of terror but there is a huge ground swell against immigration in countries that have accepted massive numbers of these displaced people.

Perhaps our anger should be directed to the creators of terrorists, rather than the terrs, themselves.

It sheets back to America causing refugees to leave their own country and seek refuge in the West.

So the question is, what to do about it. Are we going to be reactive or proactive. Clearly the answer is both but I feel that the proactive part has almost been ignored.  Can we do anything to stop the creation of terrorists of both types before it is too late. I believe we can but it is will be  hard and will require speaking speaking truth to power.

We can't go physically against the powerful country and besides even if we could, we would be adding to the same problem of violence we are trying to ameliorate. No, what we have to do is to be a voice against this continual war mongering when we see it building up and before it turns into a hot conflict.  Our main weapon is our news and current affairs capacity, publicized through podcasts and youtube. 

We decry the showing of extreemist content on social media but social media which spreads podcasts and youtube items is just a tool.  Let's use it to our advantage.

Here in New Zealand we punch above our weight and have a considerable reputation for fairness.  In part this was earned by our stand against atomic weapons and atomic powered military ships in our waters.  We took-on the same world power that is warring against the brown people of the world despite the economic hardship that it caused us. We are also known as the first country that gave suffrage to women.

At this time we have gained huge credibility by the actions and words of Jacinda following this abysmal senseless act of terrorism on our soil.

At present (March 2019) we see this powerful country up to the same old same old tricks.  In case you think this is something new under Trump, read this. The USA has done this to almost every Latin American country in Central and South America and is now doing it to Venezuela.  She has also done this in many other countries around the world and I understand that she operates a "school" where she teaches locals from other countries how to overthrow their governments.

At present  she is also  carrying out a ghastly war in Yemen through her surrogate Saudi Arabia, creating  markets for her arms without any risk to her army.

America has put sanctions on Venezuela to stop anyone trading with her and  frozen her monetary assets in American banks.  Venezuela can not buy food and medicine overseas and the Americans are using the suffering that America itself has caused to stir up a population that doesn't realize what the source of their suffering is.

To add insult to injury the USA sent food aid to the border of Venezuela to make the administration either look incompetent (if she accepted the food aid) or evil (if she  refused to allow the aid in). In the past, America has used false flag operations again and again and this is just another variation on the theme.

What we need from our media is in depth articles on the history of such actions by America and how she is operating at present in Venezuela to try to head off yet another terrorist-creating, refugee-creating atrocity. Because of the way international media operates today, articles that are pod cast and are on youtube  are likely to reach the widest audiences through social media.  Shine light on what America is doing.  Their sort of crime withers under light.  A series of articles, building up from the history of such actions to the present day will have the greatest impact. A series like this builds an audience from item to item as it becomes popular.

In the aftermath of the killings in a New Zealand mosque, we are up in arms about the social media not taking down the video of the shooting more quickly.  Fair enough.  But the social media is just a tool.  Let's use it for good rather than evil.

Our National Radio is the tool we should be using.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019


It would appear that we are going to have ever increasing flooding on into the future.  On land, rain is coming in more extreme bursts and, as warm air can hold more moisture than cold air,  in many locations there will be more total rain.

On the sea shore, the sea is rising and storms are becoming more intense so higher storm surges will be added to an ever higher sea level.  Areas that were never flooded before will be..

In addition we are seeing a further effect of climate change.  Weather systems are sometimes getting stalled over certain geographical areas instead of continually moving around the globe.  If this is a 'ridge' you are likely to have prolonged drought.  If it is a 'trough', you are likely to have prolonged rain.  We saw this in Townsville in Australia (beginning of Feb, 2019) where they had almost 400mm of rain on each of 4 consecutive days.  I can't even imagine that much rain.

So what are we to do.  We can build up levees to hold rivers in their beds and build walls to keep out the sea but just look at the cost.  And with an ever increasing problem, any such solution will be overcome in the future.  There is a far better and less expensive solution.

In areas that get flooded, the insurance companies should be held to account by the government and forced to honor their commitments.  We saw in the Christchurch earthquake how reluctant insurance companies are to pay up and how they delay any way they can.  In addition to the insurance the government should top up the pot so that the victims are generously compensated but that is it.  The area is then zoned as un-insurable.  The people can stay if they want but they have had their one time pay out.  If they get flooded again, (and if it happened once, it will only be worse in some future event), they are on their own.  They had the option to take the money and move to higher ground.  If they didn't take it, too bad.

Of course, any area that is flood prone but hasn't yet been built on (if there are any such) should be declared un-insurable for floods and no buildings ever allowed on them.

This is a far less expensive option than trying to hold back the floods and the tide.

Better still, the expense is spread over time rather then local and fedral authorities having to come up with huge tranches of money to do major civil engineering works that will be obsolete sooner rather than later.

So what about the land that remains empty.  If it is on a river flood plain (where we never should have built in the first place), it can be used for agriculture, turned into a park or left to regenerate native vegetation.  Incidentally, allowing a river to spread over it's flood plain, reduced the height of the flood downstream and so protects other properties.  This is even more effective if the area is well vegetated with shrubs and trees.

Alternately, shore areas can become nature reserves. Sea shore areas, if vegetated, will tend to collect silt and build up over time, aiding in the defense of landward properties.  On the sea shore, salt tolerant plants can be introduced.  They hold the soil, reduce wave damage and moderate the force of subsequent storms.  They can become mud flats with all the benefits this brings to the bird life of the area.

It doesn't seem likely that we will take the necessary measures to reduce our carbon output to the atmosphere.  In fact, following a few years of steady output, in 2018 we actually increased Carbon dioxide production once again.  This in spite of more and more renewable energy coming on line and ever increased efficiency in lighting our streets and buildings and powering our machinery.

We are so clever individually but so abysmally stupid in the collective.  Let's at least be sensible in reducing the cost of flooding and spreading it over a longer period.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Nano-Aluminum-New Energy Source

Sorry, but it is complete BS - at least the way it's being presented.  I'm not saying that there is no place for nano-Aluminum in the pantheon of energy systems but not as implied.

I get this investment advice site on the web and they are promoting nano-aluminum as the energy source that will soon be found powering virtually everything in our modern society.  They don't say it in so many words but leave the impression that nano-Aluminum - very small particles of Aluminum, is a catalyst which causes water to disintegrate into it's component parts, Hydrogen and oxygen, and that it does this at room temperature.  Either they are ignorant of the most basic chemistry and physics or they are trying to play the market so that they can make a buck on it's ups and downs.  Let's start by looking at what it would mean if Nano-Aluminum was such a catalyst.

As anyone who has taken first year chemistry in High School or even basic science in year 9 knows, a catalyst does not take part in a reaction.  Rather, it enables a reaction to proceed and quite often at lower temperatures than would be necessary without the catalyst.  In some cases the reaction would not occur at all without the catalyst.  So let's pretend, for a moment, that nano-Aluminum is such a catalyst.  What would bubble off.

You are probably way ahead of me.  We would have bubbles of the perfect stoichiometry* mix of Hydrogen and Oxygen  in the exact proportions to convert back to water with one mother of a bang with the slightest spark. And you certainly wouldn't want to try to compress this mixture into a high pressure tank!!!  Let's look at the claim that this is a source of energy.  Clearly the reaction would be endothermic.  It takes energy to split water and if this reaction took place at room temperature, the reaction vessel would cool down, creating a 'delta T' (temperature difference).  Heat from the environment would move toward the cool reaction vessel and continue the reaction.

*Reagents in proportion so that when they react, none of the reagent is left over. All of it reacts.

Of course you could add heat from, say, solar panels, to speed up the reaction but my investment-advice-web-site is presenting this as a source of energy.  Mind you it would be pretty neat and you would have found a way of absorbing surrounding low level heat energy and converting it into a high energy mix of H and O. 

What the reaction between nano Aluminium and water actually produces , is pure hydrogen which can be used in a fuel cell which  by the by, also work at room temperature. What is actually happening here chemically.

The Aluminum is pulling the oxygen off the water, forming Aluminum oxide and in the aqueous environment of the reaction, probably Aluminum Hydroxide and releasing the Hydrogen.  Nano Aluminum is not a catalyst but a reagent which is taking part in the reaction and is used up.  So let's look at how we got our Nano Aluminium in the first place and particularly how much energy went into the process..

First you ship the Aluminum ore, Bauxite, from where it is mined to somewhere that has abundant electricity.  First energy cost.  Aluminum is a tri-valent element.  That means for every atom of Aluminum released from the Bauxite, three electrons are needed. Second energy cost. It is an electrically hungry process but this is not all.  The process takes place in molten reagents.  You have to heat up the Bauxite and other reagents to 1000 degrees centigrade.  No matter how well insulated your reaction vessel, it looses heat and energy must be constantly added to keep the temperature up. Third energy cost.  Then you have to ship the ingots of Aluminum to where they are turned into nano-Aluminum. Fourth energy cost.  And finally it takes energy to convert a block of Aluminum into nano Aluminum. Fifth Energy cost.  We could add one more.  The energy cost of shipping the nano-aluminium to where it is to be used.

But this is all moot.  In fact, as noted above, the Aluminium is not a catalyst.  If it was a catalyst, all the above energy costs would be worthwhile since the Aluminum would remain for a very long time or perhaps forever without being used up and you would have a continual source of hydrogen (mixed with Oxygen)

The Aluminum pulls the oxygen off the water making Aluminum Oxide (Bauxite basically) which probably converts to Aluminum Hydroxide in the watery environment of the reaction.  The Hydrogen is released.  The hydrogen can then be used in a fuel cell.  You can never get more energy that the amount that actually split the bauxite in the first place and actually there are inefficiencies in this process.  AND....You certainly do not recover the other 5 energy inputs listed above.  So you have used a lot of energy to get a relatively small amount at the location where you want to use the energy.

At the very most, the use of nano-Aluminium is a sort of battery or if you like an energy storage device and not a very efficient one and one at that.  It is not chargeable.  In that sense it is comparable with the old Zinc batteries.  Of course you also need a fuel cell as part of the package in order to produce electricity.  At the most, nano-Aluminium could serve as an emergency source of electricity in a pretty safe and compact form for specialist applications where it is worthwhile to go to the expense of the whole process.    It is not a source of energy but at best an energy storage mechanism which could use wind, hydro or solar to product it in the first place and not very efficiently when you consider the total energy input and the final energy output.

It might, for instance, be used for the military in remote areas.  Getting their fossil fuel to their tanks, trucks and generators is not only expensive but highly dangerous.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Energy storage

Despite what you hear, we have already cracked the energy storage problem which is needed to make intermittent sources of renewable power such as wind and solar-electric a practical reality.  And it is not a single solution but a whole range of solutions.  Let's have a look at some of them.

1.  The clothes in your clothes cupboard and the dishes in the kitchen cupboard

Clean dishes and clean clothes are potentially energy storage devices.  All that is needed is a smart grid and smart meters.  I'm not talking about what many electrical companies have taken to call smart meters.  All these pitiful machines are designed to do is to eliminate meter readers and hence make more profit for the electrical distribution company. These so called smart meters send the company information on how much power you have used.  That's all they do.

No, I am talking about a smart grid with smart meters in which the price of electricity varies according to availability and a smart devices in the home that detect the current electrical price and controls  your smart appliance.  In the case of your clothes washer, you dial in the price you are willing to pay to wash your clothes and the machine comes on when the price falls to this level (because the sun is shining, the wind is blowing and electricity prices have fallen or because it is night and everyone has turned off the lights and gone to bed).  After a while, you will become pretty canny about not setting the dial so low that your clothes stay dirty but low enough to save you a nice bit of change.

One thing to consider, though, is that in the case of washing clothes or dishes, once the process starts, you don't want it to stop even if the price of electricity increases.  Clothes and dishes won't get clean if the power keeps going on and off.  There are even better applications.

2.  Charging your car battery or heating your water.

Everything said above about washing your dishes and clothes applies but here it doesn't matter if the electricity goes on every time the power price has got down to what you dialed on your battery charger or water cylinder heater, and goes off when the price rises above that level. Here though, we need another feature on our smart device

You need to be able to dial in "if the water isn't up to a certain temperature or the battery up to a certain level of charge when 5 in the morning rolls around, turn on the power regardless of price.  After all, you want to take a shower in the morning and have enough power in your electric car to get to work. You have gained charging or heating at a highly beneficial price through the night and just top up with more expensive power.

All the above is what is known as 'demand balancing' of the grid as opposed to the present supply balancing.  At present, the electric companies have multiple generating stations and they cut them in and out according to the momentary demand.  That will not change but now they have an additional tool.  By signaling when their base generation is in excess to demand, they can bring on more demand.  Then when demand rises, mainly in the morning as everyone gets ready for work and in the evening when everyone has all the lights on and is watching television, a whole bunch of electrical devices will not be demanding power.  Your dishes and clothes are already washed and your water is heated.

This has a real 'up-side' for the power companies.  To build another power generation station which will only be used for peak shaving is bloody expensive.

Another up side is that they will pretty well always have a market for excess power.  Instead of letting water go over the spillway, they can run it through the generators and no need to feather their wind turbines.  Most of the time there will be a market for the excess.

3.  Pumped Storage
This is already done in many jurisdictions.  When you have excess power from a cheap source, you can use it to pump water up into a reservoir.  When power demand exceeds supply, you can run this water through a generator for 'peak shaving'.  Water power is probably the most useful source of power for peak shaving as it can respond instantly to increased  or decreased demand.  While you only get, say, 75+% of the power out that you put in, this system is economically worth while.  It becomes even more so when you have wind and solar which will  often be generating far more power than is needed.  The more of this stored energy you have, the less coal you have to burn.

4.  Power walls
Tesla already produces a 6.4 and a 13.5 kWh battery pack that you can hang on your wall.  It uses lithium ion technology and a very good power management computer.  Even if you do not have solar panels or a wind generation, this could be worthwhile for you but only if we have smart grids and smart meters.  You could then charge your power wall when electricity is inexpensive and use it when power prices are high.  If you have your own renewable energy generation device, any power which is in-excess of your instantaneous demand goes into your power wall.  This is a great advantage.

Many power companies give abysmal returns for power you send to the grid.  Unless you have an enlightened power company, you don't want to be sending them power but rather using it yourself.  A further possibility opens up here.

5.  Private peak shaving
  At some point the power company may need power for a peak demand and decide, OK, just now we will pay a fair return.  They could then draw on the power walls of the country until the peak passed.  The interval in a rugby game comes to mind when everyone puts on the jug for a nice cup of tea.  The owner of the power wall dials in the price he wants to get for sending power to the power company.  The power company can up the price until they have enough power to balance the system.  The power wall owner gets a nice little bonus any time this occurs.  Again, it all boils down to truly smart grids and smart meters.

6. Liquid metal batteries
Liquid metal batteries are not likely to be useful for home use although small units have been built.  These were invented by Donald Sadoway and his team of students at MIT.  They work at temperatures high enough to melt the metals that form the electrodes and the salt that forms the electrolyte.  The flow of current through the battery creates enough heat to keep the materials molten.  The trick is in a very well insulated container.

One of the metals is denser than the salt they use, the other less dense so they automatically form horizontal layers.  As the battery discharges metal migrates through the salt to the other layer and the reverse when the battery is being charged. (Sorry, that was a bit simplistic)

In terms of the cost per kWh stored, they are projected to be very cheap. They are also said to be very long lasting and very safe.  If I had one at home, I would still want it in an outbuilding.  They have had some start up problems but have gone through a re-design phase and apparently have solve these.  They say that they have also developed an alternate chemistry using even less expensive materials than with the initial batteries.  They are projected to be available by 2020.

There are over 90 elements in the periodic table and thousands of different salts.  Now that the basic system has been proven, we can expect an exploration of different chemistries to make liquid metal batteries with other chemistries. 

7. The Vanadium Battery
The vanadium battery is a very clever innovation.  It is known as a flow battery.  Instead of using two different elements, it uses solutions of Vanadium in two different oxidation states.  This way, if some of one solution leaks into the other one through the semi permeable membrane, all that happens is that the battery operates a little less efficiently.  And you can have tanks of any size of the solutions of Vanadium in the two different oxidation states.  Thus the storage capacity of the battery is only limited by the size of the tanks.  The Vanadium battery therefore has a huge potential for storage capacity.  It also apparently has a very long life and a very fast response time to varying loads.

It is doubtful if it could be used in a car but one can imagine a train with the first car consisting of a giant battery of this type.  (or for that matter, a liquid metal battery).  If part of the rail line was electrified, the battery could be charged while the train was in motion over the electrified part of the track giving it enough power to bridge the gap between electrified portions of the track.  Large semi trailers might be similarly powered. However, at present these batteries are only used in static energy storage applications.

Again, there are over 90 elements in the periodic table, many of them with more than one oxidation state.  Now that the basic principle of a redox, flow battery has been proven and brought to commercial application, we can expect further exploration of the elements of the periodic table.

8.  The Iron Battery
The Iron battery is another flow battery although I am puzzled about how it could work.  True, Iron exists in two different oxidation states, ferric and ferrous but the more oxidized ferric state is quite insoluble.  It seems to me that it would go one way and that would be it.  I am clearly wrong since this type of battery exists.  Apparently they use Iron chloride which may explain the fact that it does indeed work.

9. Ultra Capacitors
Ultra Capacitors don't hold huge amounts of power compared to batteries but their great advantage is that they can take up and deliver huge fluxes of energy as needed.  In many applications, this makes the delivery of stable power levels and frequencies feasible and by avoiding large fluxes of energy through batteries, greatly extends their life.  They can, for instance, take up the regerative power during hard braking of an electric car and either hold this for acceleration or dribble it into the battery at a rate that is good for the battery.  They are vital components of renewable energy systems.

10.  Air pressure
Disused caverns created by mining, notable salt mines which tend to be air tight, can have air compressed into them in times of excess renewable electricity which can be used to power a turbine for peak shaving.  The walls  of these caverns tend to be good insullators so the heat of compression is not lost but is stored in the walls of the cavern, increasing their over all efficiency.

11.  Gravimetric
Energy can be stored using gravity.  Some mines go down kilometers. they have elevators to take miners up and down.  In such a disused mine, a large weight can be suspended from a the elevator reel, and connected to a motor/generator.  The weight is raised when electricity is available allowed to descend when power is needed.

12.  Fly Wheels
Fly wheels can store large amounts of energy.  If I remember my physics correctly, the best sort of fly wheel is similar to a bicycle wheel rather than a solid disk.  Whatever the best shape, with modern materials, fly wheels can be made enormously strong and hence spun up to high speed, storing more energy.  I seem to remember that a simple DC motor is the way to go since it just keeps increasing in speed as power is applied (not frequency modulated) 

13.  Hydrogen production
When excess energy is available, Water can be split into Hydrogen and Oxygen.  Despite being vaunted as a fuel for transportation, batteries are most likely a better, more efficient option but Hydrogen should be great for static applications.  For these, you can store the hydrogen at low pressure in those up side down tanks such as they used to use for producer gas.  Avoiding liquefaction or compression makes the whole system more efficient. If the Oxygen is collected and compressed into tanks, you have a valuable much used by product to make the system more economically viable.  The hydrogen is used when needed to make electricity in a fuel cell.  The hydrogen can also be used directly in heating and welding.

14.  Energy Transmission
This is not strictly speaking a method of storing power but rather a method to reduce the amount of energy you have to store.  Look at the map of British Columbia.  Power is transmitted by very high voltage power lines (less line losses at high voltage) all the way to Vancouver.  Lay such power lines East and West and you see that as the sun is felt in one location, it can be transmitted a considerable distance east and west.  In other words from where it is noon to where it is early morning or afternoon.  In this way, the solar generating day can in essence be greatly extended.  In addition, using DC, power can be transmitted under water from, for instance, the Sahara desert to Europe and other similar combinations of locations.  The same applies to wind power.  Electricity is transmitted from where it is windy to where it is not.
15. Increased Efficiency 
This is not an energy storage system but is vital for the passage to renewable sourced of energy.  Think of lighting that in the USA uses about 10% of the power generated.  Florescent lights use about a tenths of the power of incandescent lighting and LEDs about one percent of the energy used for incandescent bulbs for the same amount of light.  Other effects such as the Halbach effect for electric motors can also make electric motors lighter and more powerful.  This is especially useful for transport applications.

Buildings use huge amounts of power and have huge surface areas to collect solar radiation.  The more we take advantage of their characteristics and use them to collect energy, the lower our electric demand will be and the easier it will be to meet it with renewable sourced of energy.

The key to energy storage is truly smart grids.  The sooner we have them, the sooner we will wean ourselves off fossil fuel.  In this context, the vital path is to eliminate vested interest money in politics.  Who Pays the Piper Calls the Tune.  Never was this more true than in politics.

And Finally
And finally, we really do have to find a way to stop growing our population (it is already decreasing markedly) and our economy.  If our energy demand keeps increasing, all the above systems may only be able to keep up to the increase.  We seem to be in the final stage of an exponential growth curve.  Such curves in the real world of biology achieve verticality --- straight down.  We are already using more than one world of resources and it can only end one way.  There isn't another world out there and even if it was and if we could transfer half of our population to it, we would soon exhaust the resources of both worlds.  There isn't and we can't.  We must learn to live and live well in a static economy.

ps.  Have a look at this TED talk by Amory Lovins.  Perhaps we are already almost beyond needing energy storage in huge capacities.