Uk electricity generation policy – skyscrapercity electricity 2pm mp3


No it doesn’t produce electricity, but what is does offer is the ability to store electricity obtained/purchased during a period of low demand. And then release it into the UK grid when demand for energy is higher. So for example energy obtained from wind turbines between midnight and 5am on a blustery night could be used several hours later when everyone has showers, puts the kettle on, cooks their breakfast etc.

The theory is that by smoothing out the peaks and troughs in this way the total generation requirement can be less – meaning less need to build expensive power stations. How easy it is to make this happen reliably in real world conditions remains to be seen. But the ability to store a lot of energy means that any short-term interruption of supply through one of the inter-connectors (or the gas pipes) shouldn’t become an immediate crisis.

And therein you have hit the nail on the head. Energy storage actually has the potential to have as big an impact as renewables. Historically we have needed to be able to provide peak requirement less a little bit for a couple of storage methods we have plus a bit for issues caused by nasty out of phase issues (which by the way is why the three phases have a smaller neutral return, so that out of phase we have a neutral rather than using the combined 3 phase as a neutral but i digress). If we could just lop the peaks off the apres Eastenders cuppa and industry startup times then we would need way less generating capacity.

It is difficult to match power demand to power generation (input) in most applications. Sometime it can be done, with examples being long haul trains and ships moving at constant speeds and loads, where the demand can be matched by the output of the motors, which run on stored energy onboard. Most demand is bursty. That is in: cars, buses, trucks, commuter trains, in the home, industry, commerce and utility networks.

Having a `buffer` can fill the gaps between the peaks and troughs of the demand. The gas distribution network, an energy network, has an `energy` buffer, in storing gas in tanks or in the large distribution pipes for peaks in demand, the same with water in storing water in reservoirs and tanks in buildings to cope with peak demand. Electricity is difficult to store but the energy that produces the electricity can be easily stored, like coal, oil, gas and water to bring in generation when there is a peak demand.

Electricity is not power in itself, it is a more transport mechanism of power. The power is produced in the generator, by energy like: coal, wind, oil and gas. Energy for electricity, coal, water, oil, gas can be stored and used to turn generators when there is demand by staging them in. This is generally costly as the generator’s `engines` have to be ticking over most of the time ready to be staged in. The better quick responses are from falling water and gas turbines.

The best way of storing already generated `electricity` complete with some of its `energy` is batteries. If used for grid storage, this has an advantages in that a large battery storage bank can be near where the peak demand will be which is mainly in residential and industrial areas. Most electricity generating power stations tend to be away from the high demand with reduced efficiencies in the distribution cables.

The battery banks can store electricity from generators which need to be running which are on low demand and also wind. Having storage means power generation levels can be calculated to `average` demand, not peak, which means less power stations and less fossil fuel burning.

Large uses of gas, like industrial blast furnaces, may be forced to have a buffer of gas on their premises in having a gas cylinder. When they start up they can seriously draw on the gas distribution network until it catches up. They also will not allow them to start up at times when the local housing estate are all operating their combis first thing in the morning. Some combi boilers are, or were, very sensitive to low gas pressure and would come on with a bang. Combis like to have a stable gas pressure and supply to operate safely. To eliminate large expensive to maintain traditional gas holders gas distribution pipes have been made larger and gas pressures raised, so the gas is stored in the pipes under the streets. The pipes are the buffer. Gas can be compressed. They then could sell off the land the gas holders were sat on, in sometimes valuable city locations, at high prices and also reducing maintenance costs.

Britain has traditionally had local water buffering in having tanks in lofts. The total amount of water in loft tanks in cities amounts to a full reservoir, with the water companies saving by pushing storage, and storage and maintenance costs, onto the end users. Loft storage is diminishing with larger bore water distribution pipes under higher pressures operated by large distribution pumps. We traditionally stored hot water (energy) in hot water cylinders. We still do in large installations. Small homes and flats now heat water instantly using combis. Combis outsell all other types of boilers. Previously, homes used say a 5kw water heater to heat their hot water slowly and store it in a buffer cylinder ready to be used. Now the energy is stored by the gas companies with homes using 24kW to 50kW instant water heaters. The buffering has moved from the home to gas distribution network.

The old traditional British homes had two buffers. A water buffer in the loft (cold water loft tank), and a hot water buffer in a cupboard (hot water cylinder) as the appliances were not advanced enough to heat cold water fast enough (instantly). The storage buffers had to be sized up correctly.

Gas and water traditionally had local storage buffers, and still do. Electricity now is following suit in storing electricity locally in battery banks. The reason the never previously stored electricity locally was that the battery technology was not available.

The secret as water and gas companies discovered long ago was to use buffers locally. Electricity is just catching up on a large scale with grid battery banks. Electricity buffer storage is now is also moving into the home as water has done for near 200 years. Telsa have the PowerWall battery which can charge up overnight using cheap electricity or from solar PV panel on the roof (for free). The electricity stored is enough to run a home at peak usage times. The buffering is also grid-wide as stored electricity in PowerWall batteries can be drawn back into the grid supplementing the grid.