Environmental impact – does having a battery help the environment?
- Batteries allow a greater amount of generated energy to be self-consumed – thereby maximising the return on your solar panels and reducing your carbon output.
- Certain systems allow the grid to use your system to help with covering peaks in demand – thereby reducing the need to fire up fossil fuel power stations.
This is a complicated subject that I will return to in later posts as more research data becomes available. There are people who have very strong opinions in both sides of this issue and I am not really looking to pick a fight with either side. Suffice it to be said however, that any technology that allows and promotes a more efficient usage of renewable generation (or at the very least encourages it), greater individual awareness of energy consumption and allows the grid to be more flexible (through things such as demand side response- DSR) is a good thing in principle.
An example of demand-side response briefly put is: allowing the grid to manage your energy consuming products and services to cover peaks in its own load and reduce need for production at peak times.
The reason why this specifically has an environmental impact is that the generation systems that can be turned on and off more quickly arecurrently fossil fuel based such as Coal and CCGT – Combined Cycle Gas Turbine – power plants.
For those of you interested in the breakdown of current generation of supply for Great Britain please have a look at This website maintained by DRAX
In the future, it may mean that by pulling a couple of kWh from your battery when its halftime on the football match or say when the soaps have an advert break, they have less to produce to cover a surge in demand. This will lead to people getting paid for sharing their battery pack resources as a realistic scenario for the near future.
This is pretty much the shortest blog on batteries as effectively the environmental benefits of battery storage from a domestic consumer perspective are of the more “soft” side of things… by enhancing uptake of renewable energy where the generating technology does the real heavy lifting environmentally speaking in the terms of savings of kg CO2 per kWh generated rather than the batteries alone until such a time as DSR kicks in.
On a more commercial perspective for larger systems like Tesla’s Powerpack there can certainly be more of an argument for they themselves to be of environmental benefit as they are normally used to prevent manufacturing shutdowns or enhance production efficiency – which by definition reduces Greenhouse Gases as it allows for more efficient industry and so less wastage of resources.
Written by John Rowlatt