In one of articles (Read This article) we discussed that we can realize how much energy is spent in which section In a country by looking at its load profile. Sometimes authorities are compelled to build a new power plant only to cover an instantaneous load peak which costs them millions of dollars. We know that it’s possible to soften a load profile and avoid extreme peaks by demand management, but it needs perfect planning and lots of cultural and social activities which makes this option, a long term solution.
There seems to be another solution, Energy Storage. With energy storage, there is no need to ask consumers to manage their consumption because whether they consume or not, our power plants are generating power at their nominal power (or maybe Max. power) and they don’t care if consumers are using it at night, noon or morning. If consumers spend this amount of power, generation-consumption equation is valid and we have no problem. If consumers don’t use the power, our power plants are still working at their best rate and instead of decreasing the amount of generation, they charge the storage system and generation-consumption equation is still valid! Using this method we will have a total power network capacity more than total Max. power of our power plants, because we have huge number of charged batteries (or more general, storage system) providing demand side with power. To understand the advantages of this plan better, we should know that main cost of a power plant is the initial cost of establishment and not cost of increasing power generation to nominal power (or Max. Power). Also, our power plant will perform more efficient at its nominal rate rather than lower rates of generation, so it’s better to keep them running at nominal rates and store their extra power in an storage system.
The energy storage idea isn’t exclusively used for electrical energy, there are many solutions for heating problems too. Assume a house that should overcome heat from sun rays using electrical energy and should be warm enough at nights while outside is cold. In this cases we can’t expect our consumer to manage their consumption (even with billing fines or rewards!). they will use as much energy as they need to have favorable temperature. It’s obvious that we can handle this time mismatch between ambient temperature and our consumer ideal temperature, implementing an energy storage system. How? If our energy storage system absorbs heat during the day inside the house, then inner space of house will be cooled and it can give back its heat at nights so we don’t need to burn much energy to keep the house warm. This easy-to-explain storage system has been used in ancient houses in central desert of Iran (Thick walls and roofs were made of “Kahgel” which is an interesting material for construction those times).
We’ll have closer look at various energy storage technologies in another article. In this article we wanted to have a brief on advantages of having huge and efficient storage systems and its impacts on future power networks. If companies or governments invest enough on storage system researches, soon we’ll see big changes in power, smart cities or every single device which need storage system. Most known devices are smart watches or electrical vehicles which need real change in battery industry so they can get the whole market more easily and efficiently.
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