Load Management – Industry Needs to Up Its Game
image credit: Elovkoff | Dreamstime.com
- Jul 28, 2020 4:02 pm GMT
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The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken up the entire world. It has shown us that we can drastically reduce carbon emissions and other pollution. We do not also need to work from office cubicles to be productive either. One factor that has stayed the same has been our old-fashioned, energy inefficient buildings, particularly in the industrial sector, where waste heat often just goes to...waste.
Future power providers will need to balance renewables. If demand was more flexible, then utilities would find it easier to accommodate a new and more interactive grid. 40 per cent of our electricity is consumed by buildings. Some estimates are that over half of that energy is lost or wasted in poor generation, transmission and distribution systems, or on the site itself. Those losses account for approximately 30 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than any other sector.
Improving the efficiency of energy-intensive appliances such as air-cons, fridges, industrial equipment, lighting and motors is critical to manage future energy demand and the emissions it will generate.
Installing solar panels, heat pumps and batteries can significantly improve the efficiency of the supply of energy to buildings, reducing the need for grid-supplied power as well as providing backup for the system. Advanced lighting and heating as well as insulation will also assist in reducing demand.
Industrial co-generation projects where waste flue gases and heat from, for example, steel production, which would otherwise be polluting the atmosphere, are recycled into turbines, which then produce power for the steel mills and the surrounding site. This is making the maximum energy efficiency part of the industrial process, as we move towards a “circular economy.”
Image: William R Dickson co-generation plant, part of MIT environmental clean energy initiative.