One of the most serious problems facing the U.S. and other parts of the industrialized world today is the inadequacy of the electrical grid, along with the generating resources that power it. Although much has been made of the vulnerability of high-voltage electrical transmission systems to outside attack, a more systemic problem is the inherent inefficiency involved in maintaining sufficient generating capacity to meet peak electrical demand.
Since electricity is not easily stored, large scale power plants must be built with enough capacity to meet potential spikes in consumer demand, such as caused by widespread hot weather, even though those spikes may represent only a small percentage of total annual requirement. As a result, excess capacity sits dormant much of the time, while being pushed to the limit, and sometimes beyond its limit, during other times. The cost to build and constantly maintain such capacity is ultimately passed on to consumers and the nation as a whole.
Adding to this long-standing problem is the new prospect of increased demand brought on by the still uncertain use of plug-in electric cars. As major manufacturers begin to turn out larger numbers of such vehicles, the next ten years could see a million or more electricity hungry cars on the road, although the price of gas and the cost of electric cars will ultimately influence final numbers. If the cars are plugged in at night, when power usage is at a minimum, the excess capacity can be fired up to meet the new demand. But there is little doubt that many of the cars could be plugged in during the day, perhaps at new work-based charging stations.
An interesting approach to the problem is presented by Sky Power Solutions, Inc., developer of advanced electrical storage and residential solar power solutions. The company uses the newest lithium ion battery technology, together with a specially designed solar concentrating system, to provide individual users with a cost-effective and reliable source of solar electricity. The idea is that the excess power generated from the sun at the household level can be used for the individual’s own use, as well as to feed the grid, helping to alleviate the growing demand for electricity, and reduce the need for oversized power plants. Even though it would mean investment at the household level, the addition of such a decentralized resource would, it is hoped, make the grid as a whole more reliable.
Please see disclaimer on the MissionIR website www.missionir.com/disclaimer.html