Storing energy to use later is as common and natural as food in your stomach, gas in your car, or a battery in your cell phone. Thermal storage stores cooling energy. It’s green, with a long list of cumulative benefits for society—it saves energy, facilitates renewable energy, reduces greenhouse gases and delays or eliminates the need for more fossil fuel power plants.
SAVES ENERGY AT THE SOURCE
Measure energy savings—source fuel— at the power plant that creates electricity—not the electric meter. The building's meter is like a car’s odometer—it clocks miles traveled, not whether the car went 10 miles a gallon or 40. During low demand, off-peak periods, 10-30 percent less energy is needed to deliver power, because off-peak, power plants (known as baseload plants) are that much more efficient.
MAKES RENEWABLES MORE VIABLE
As more renewable energy enters the grid, the need to store that energy rises, too. With greater wind and solar usage, the need for cost effective energy storage—at the building site—becomes paramount. A thermal storage system, onsite at a building, uses stored energy (created overnight as the wind blows) to cool the building during the peak hours of the day. Thermal storage does not store electrons. Instead, the least expensive and most energy-efficient form of energy— cooling— is stored.
REDUCES GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS
Off-peak electricity is more efficient, and it’s important to note, it’s also cleaner. Think about a hot, 95 degree summer day, when demand on the grid is high. As the grid works to meet all that demand, the last power plants that come online, are “peaker” power plants that are generally twice as dirty as off-peak, baseload plants. It is more efficient to distribute electricity in the cool of the night than the heat of the day. Transmission line losses are highest when power demand is highest. Losses are 5-7% are normal and can go as high as 14% of hot days.
FEWER FOSSIL FUEL PLANTS
For every four buildings cooled by thermal storage, a fifth can be cooled also, without the need for additional power plants. The cumulative effect of less peak demand across multiple buildings, generates enough extra cooling capacity to address the cooling needs of a fifth building. Lowering peak demand brings other significant benefits too.
In retrofit projects, or in modern buildings where demand for more electricity is rising – the reduced peak demand that is the hallmark of thermal storage—can delay or eliminate the need for costly plant expansions, infrastructure upgrades.
Simply put, when using off-peak electricity to store energy for use during peak hours, daytime peaks of electricity go down. Plus the need to build expensive new power plants, goes down with it.