What happens when the grid runs out?

Did you know you can go online and see the energy consumption for the whole of the UK in real-time?.

I had the pleasure of attending a talk hosted by the IET and presented by Dr Richard Govier, the Technical Director of Socomec who supply large commercial energy storage units. His topic was the drivers for battery storage, and over the coming weeks I want to touch on a few of the fascinating themes he described.

This week, to get us started, I wanted to direct you to a web page that allows you to see the actual status of national grid and where the energy is coming from. This is a fascinating site that allows you to see the state of UK electricity generation by type and demand. It also shows energy sent to or from the continent.

This image shows the headline numbers right now

20180330_GBNationalGridStatus_Gridwatch-templar-co-uk_Today_JTisdall

By comparison, this next image shows the numbers at peak load earlier this year – 26th Feb at 18:15 to be precise. The peak load is up from 36.49 GW today, to 49.33 GW on 26th Feb, when there really was almost nothing in reserve. We can see coal was running maxed out and nuclear and Gas were both near peak. We were probably lucky that it was a windy night.

20180226-1815_GBNationalGridStatus_Gridwatch-templar-co-uk_PeakLoad_JTisdall

The web page showing the status of the national grid gives a great deal of additional information for the curious among you.

So what does this mean for us as consumers of energy?

Electricity is ever more central to our lives and a power cut is not something to be taken lightly. Once the demand exceeds the supply we shall start seeing significant power cuts.

Energy storage appears to be the best long term method to take out the surges; both locally and nationally.

Locally, this can be done in a home, by having a supply that can kick in for vital services i.e. to allow the gas boiler to ignite. A combined solar and battery system can save you money whilst offering you back up energy.

Nationally, we see a growing need for storage assets to allow the grid to cope with demand.

I shall be following up on related themes in the coming week

The 4 main applications of energy storage

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