Embedded Energy Storage
Electrical cannot be practically stored as electrical energy – it must be consumed when it is generated, or transformed into a form of energy that can be stored. Allowing consumers to store energy offers benefits by “time shifting” electricity – allowing it to be bought from suppliers at one time for consumption at another time. This has the following advantages :
- Less need of reserve power plants. With more consumers having their own storage, those stores are in a strong position to respond to the fluctuations in demand.
- Enabling Renewable Energy. With the inherent intermittency of wind and PV derived renewable energy storage can smooth out this variability.
- Improving power reliability. By having more storage the grid is inherently more robust against fluctuations and brief outages.
Technology in this area is evolving and the following are the main forms of electricity storage considered practical for commercial consumers:
- Electrical Storage heaters - these are electrical appliances which store thermal energy at night when electricity is available at lower cost, and releases the heat during the day as required. The heat is stored within the heater within clay bricks or other ceramic material, concrete.
- Heat pumps work by “pumping up’ heat from a low temperature source, for example the ground under car park and release it at a higher temperature into a central heating system or water tank.
- Ice bank air conditioning. During the period of lowest price electricity water is frozen solid. During the rest of the time, when cooling is required, the air or water is cooled by the ice.
- Hot Water. Using electricity to heat water either directly or through the use of a heat pump (just described) is another way of turning electrical energy into thermal energy for later use.
- Compressed air storage. The air is compressed when electricity is cheapest, and stored in tanks. Then the compressed air is used when it is required by pneumatic tools and machines.
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