What is “Load shifting”?

“We are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it.”
Barack Obama, Former US President

As I was walking into work the other day passing out all the cars that were stuck in traffic it got me thinking about two things; firstly, how glad I was that I could walk to work and secondly, how glad I was that I could work from home. Unfortunately for drivers, the situation will likely get worse when all offices are allowed to reopen. All our road building and transport demands are built around the amount of traffic at rush hour which means they sit mostly underutilised for most of the day. If any of those cars had been a half-hour earlier or later going to work, they probably wouldn’t have encountered any traffic at all.

There is a concept in Energy management called “Load Shifting” where you move (or shift) the load that you would normally use during peak times which incurs an extra charge per unit of energy. The three main methods of Load Shifting are:

1) Cost-saving through “peak-shaving”

2) Cost-saving through night saver rate

3) Renewable Generation

In this post we will talk about three methods of load shifting:

Cost-saving through “peak-shaving”

Peak shaving is the process of reducing the amount of electricity you are using at times when there is the most demand on the electricity grid, for example around 5-7 pm when people are cooking dinner. Some electricity tariffs will have higher charges during these hours as suppliers may need to use extra generators to reach this peak load. By “shifting” some of the energy-intensive processes you have on-site to before or after these peak hours this can result in a reduction in your energy bills.

Cost-saving through night saver rate

A night saver rate charges less for any electricity you use during the night. Some processes can be moved to be completed during the night to avail of this lower rate, such as electric forklift charging.

Renewable Generation

Although not strictly speaking a method of Load Shifting, the installation of renewable generation is a way of reducing the amount of power you are using at peak times. The peak output from solar panels is during the middle of the day when the sun is at its highest. Installing solar panels can reduce the electricity you are pulling from the grid during the more expensive day rate and unlike the two previously explored methods, the installation of renewable generation on-site is a way of reducing your Greenhouse Gas emissions helping you reach your sustainability targets.

There are many other low and no-cost methods you can use to reduce your energy consumption & environmental impact with great funding supports from the IDA & Enterprise Ireland. There are many ways of discovering what methods would best suit your organisation & processes such as the Climate Action Voucher, GreenStart, and GreenPlus to reduce your energy costs.

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