It is not surprising that many governments want to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels. Energy autonomy would allow them to solve a good part of the structural economic problems, especially those related to the balance of payments. That is not to mention the desirable contribution to the sustainability of the planet that every good government yearns for.
Most fossil fuels are used for two things: for transportation and to generate the electrical energy needed during peak demand. Of course, the proportions of both vary from country to country, but it is surprising that transport is not always the largest demanding of non-renewable energy.
For transportation, a solution that is being addressed is the conversion to electricity consumption. The most significant case is that of the car that, although it could use other sustainable energies, its electrical supply can allow beneficial side effects that we will see later.
In the case of the management of electricity demand peaks, the main problem comes from the fact that this type of energy cannot be stored in large quantities, which means that its production and consumption must be similar at all times. And generation with non-renewable energies is not as flexible as one would like, so it is necessary to use other types of energies to complement it.
The solutions that are being proposed are based on the intelligent use of energy based on precise information on the demand and the use made of energy. This is something that is already being implemented, generally under the name of ” smart grid ” and that serves mainly to solve inefficiencies in the system. It is a necessary first step.
But what is interesting is that there is already speculation about the evolution of this concept towards a “ smartgrid2.0 ”. It would be characterized because the flow of electricity would go in two directions, instead of how it now goes from the electricity company to the user. And new concepts such as cogeneration and distributed energy storage would be included.
To reach this point, a first step would be the installation of new smart meters in homes that allow to measure demand with greater precision and adjust generation to said demand. From here, the limits are in the imagination. It could, for example, reach a state where power companies could alert household appliances to upcoming periods of high prices so that they act accordingly.
Users could become suppliers using renewable energy for self-consumption and contributing the rest to be resold. They could even use small residential storage units with a capacity of a few kWh. All this to reduce the domestic energy bill and contribute to the management of demand peaks.
Finally, for the temporary storage of energy, some of the different technologies available could be used. There are those who bet on hydrogen but the most curious use could come from the storage of energy in the batteries of electric cars. The use of this source as an energy reserve is being considered to satisfy very high consumption peaks. A fact: if half of the cars in Spain were electric, their batteries could provide the electrical energy that is consumed in 3 hours.