Living with Technology and Nature

AI ML use in optimizing electricity generation distribution

Part 1

Electricity generation and now storage too

Multiple sources like water, solar, coal, nuclear, and wind are used to generate electricity. A centralized facility, which produces the power, is where distribution is done to consumers while solar-based electricity generation can also be done at the consumer's premises directly.

Irrespective of the type of source or facility used for the generation of electricity a common thread is how efficiently we generate and store the generated power. The technologies for efficient, cost-effective production of electricity are continually evolving. Although due to the level of capital investment and complexity in implementing improvements the generation plants are not upgraded very often irrespective of the type of facility. The new installations are the only ones able to use the latest innovations.

The technologies for power storage are also exponentially evolving concerning technology and cost-effective, innovative storage. The concept of storing electricity at the facility generation was typically not done in the past resulting in generation directly feeding into the distribution. The lack of storage at generation plants results in controlling the production based on demand and sometimes not able to meet the market due to lack of generation capacity at the specific instance. Companies like Tesla have come up with solutions that integrate seamlessly into the existing generation plants providing the capability of a constant generation with storage of over generated capacity for use during the high demands. This process produces a more predictable continuous generation utilizing full generation capacity 24x7x365 irrespective of the time of usage-based production. The additional advantage is an automatic increase in the generation capacity of a plant. Although the storage is done in non-peak hours more, compared to peak times this stored energy provides automatic backup in cases of maintenance, partial failures or full failures at generation plants.

This storage capability provides new life into the old plants as well as guides the design and installation of new facilities. The battery-based storage converts the generated electricity to lower DC voltage for storage and turned back to supply power before distribution. With the addition of storage capacity, the technologies lead to a new challenge of conversion efficiency for storing in the batteries and doing the conversion back. Constant monitoring of stored electricity units and advanced battery management needs become more crucial as the amount of storage capacity increases to produce a better rate of return.

Stay tuned for the next part for the use of management as well as the use of Machine Learning on collected data from monitoring of various aspects.


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