Recently many electrical grids have begun to realize the great benefits of battery storage. As battery technology has advanced, storage facilities are becoming more economical and may change the nature of how our electric grid operates.
Currently our electric grid operates like a water pipeline. Power plants push electricity down the power lines to the city. Like a water pipe, if too much electricity is pulled from the pipeline the pressure dips and you get blackouts. Inversely if a power plant produces too much electricity the electrical pipeline can burst so to speak, damaging things.
This setup would be fine if electrical demand was constant, but it’s not. There are TONS of different factors that influence electrical demand such as time of day, temperature, and city events. Pretty much anything that changes people’s behavior.
Because of this, engineers must constantly monitor the output to keep up with the demand. This requires the use of “Peaker Plants” which only turn on at peak demand times. This works well but does have a fair degree of inefficiency. It’s also one of the main reasons why renewable energies haven’t been used more. (Because they can’t be turned on and off reliably.)
The Electric Grid of the future
Luckily batteries are beginning to advance enough to change this, and their use will change how our power grid operates. If we go back to our water pipe analogy, batteries would be a reservoir, or water tower. A place where we can store water (power) now, for use later. We solved this problem with our water system a long time ago because of how annoying adjusting supply is. We’ve only put up with it this long for electricity because it’s much harder to store.
luckily with smartphones and electric cars on everyone’s mind batteries have become a sexy industry. This means lots of money for research and development pushing advancements. We can now use them for large scale projects to even out the supply and demand, and perhaps begin switching to cleaner and more advanced sources like Solar Energy.
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