What is grid balancing?
Grid balancing happens 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, without most of us even realising.
When we use the words grid balancing, we’re talking about the balancing of the electrical grid. And honestly, if you don’t know about it already, it might just blow your mind!
In this blog, we chat through:
What is the electrical grid?
Our electrical grid takes energy from solar, wind, hydro, nuclear, and fossil fuels and distributes it - it’s what brings electricity to our homes, schools, and favourite coffee shops.
Think of it like the host of a dinner party (the grid) getting dishes given to them from different suppliers (i.e. different energy companies). The host will take all the dishes and then give portions out to everyone, making sure there’s enough food for everyone to enjoy. The grid does exactly this, but with energy. And this is where grid balancing comes into play.
What is grid balancing?
So, we know that the grid distributes energy, but how it makes sure there’s enough energy at the right times is pretty darn cool. Grid balancing refers to the magic act of making sure there’s enough energy to meet demand.
- Demand: the amount of energy needed to power homes
- Energy: the power being supplied (whether that’s wind, solar, fossil fuels etc.)
During off-peak hours (such as nighttime), there is less demand, so the grid needs less energy supplied to it.
We can reduce the amount of energy supplied to the grid through ways, like:
- Turning off wind turbines
- Using vehicle-to-grid (V2G) to store excess energy
During peak hours, there’s more demand, and the grid needs more energy supplied to it. So, if the wind turbines have been turned off overnight, they’ll need to be turned on again.
If this balance gets out of whack, and there’s too much energy on the grid and not enough demand, it can lead to blackouts and brownouts (flickering of lights and shortages in electricity).
Grid balancing and cool tech
The best thing about grid balancing - it’s done without most of us knowing about it, and it uses some really cool tech. There’s AI that can talk not only to the grid, but also your appliances, turning them on at off-peak times (saving you money in the process).
Other tech that helps to balance the grid includes things like AI that switches wind turbines on and off and V2G (where EVs are used as big batteries to store energy at off-peak times, and then feed it back to the grid during peak times).