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For example, what if you had a combined wind and solar thermal power plant?

It would be nice to see some calculations on this. Off hand, it sounds worth pursuing. A related possibility for storing excess energy (in the long run)is:

http://www.r2dot.org/

This is not economic at present, but presents possibilities when fossil fuel gets high enough.

For some low tech methods of storing excess energy, search on ("self heating" AND building), "Annualized geo solar," or "seasonal heat storage." In these techniques, the low capital cost and high capacity make up for the deficiencies.

Note that a geoexchange building system IS a seasonal heat storage. Cost is a bit higher, but the lifetime cost is lower.
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