Whenever there is a great demand for electrical power, such as during a hot day when everyone is running air conditioning, load shedding can help. Load shedding is a way to save money, and it can be quite useful to reduce pollution as well. If load shedding were not a possibility, the result would be a brownout, where the amount of available voltage drops. What is load shedding though, and how could it help in this type of situation?
How Does Load Shedding Work?
The cost of having extra generators would be very high, and this would drive up the cost of electricity for all consumers. It makes far more sense to have some companies that use a large amount of electricity reduce or eliminate their usage for those peak periods when it seems as though a brownout or blackout is inevitable. Load shedding is a preferred method of saving energy for the grid. During certain times of the day, or during emergencies, large consumers of electricity will reduce their electrical usage, thus reducing the load on the grid.
Energy companies and utility companies who do business with these manufacturers, factories, and other businesses involved will contact them to let them know to reduce their energy. When the company complies, the stress on the electrical grid drops a bit. With enough companies complying with this request, it is possible to avoid the brownout and prevent a possible blackout. It makes sense for all involved.
Of course, many might be wondering about the financial losses that the company would incur from shutting down. When a company agrees to load shedding though, they will receive financial incentives. These incentives are often enough to help them cover the costs of not operating for a few hours.
While it is often the larger companies that do this (simply because they are using more power than the normal consumer), average consumers are actually doing this as well. The utility companies will often have days where you can “reduce your use” and lower your energy consumption. They can receive their own incentives and discounts on their bills.
Heating, air conditioning, and ventilation are often the areas where companies will choose to reduce their usage. However, lighting can play a role as well. Those companies that agree to load shedding should consider all of the non-essentials first when they reduce their power. The load shedding companies must also be able to reduce their usage quickly, which is something that could take an energy management system or specialist to make feasible.
Why is Load Shedding Important?
Without companies agreeing to load shedding, there would often be a much greater demand on the grid in different parts of the country. This would mean that the possibility of brownouts and other energy issues would be much greater than they already are. Brownouts would reduce the efficiency for many companies and affect the lives of countless residents. Fortunately, there are companies out there who are doing this, and when more start to see the incentives, they will likely want to take part as well. The good news is that it is getting easier to do.
Automation Makes it Easier
With automated demand response, it will be much easier and faster for load shedding to occur. Currently, the programs will generally rely on phone calls and email to let companies know when they should reduce their usage. They might provide companies with a full day’s notice, or the company might have only a few hours to prepare. With automation, the system will be able to turn off the lights, air conditioning, and other devices remotely and automatically.
Any participating company would be able to choose the different areas that they would be able to shut off without affecting their daily activity, and it would automatically happen when a load shed was necessary. The company would still receive their incentives making it a win-win for everyone. More and more companies are looking into the possibility of load shedding because of the financial and environmental advantages.
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