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Thermal Energy Storage Steffes-savings

Published on March 31st, 2011 | by Susan Kraemer

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One Way the Smart Grid Will Make Cheaper Heat (+ Wind Storage!)

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March 31st, 2011 by
 

Ceramic electric thermal storage (ETS) heaters are the perfect way to use cheap off-peak electricity which goes begging for customers at night. Some 25 Terawatt-hours of wind energy went to waste in 2010 because there’s just not enough of us burning the midnight oil. People use electricity during the day. Wind blows at night. Smart grid pricing is coming that incentivizes people to shift the load to balance it.

ETS heaters such as those made by Steffes amount to a form of distributed storage for excess wind power. Electricity is stored as heat in ceramic brick interiors of these heaters for as long as 24 hours, and released on demand.

They are smart-grid ready and have the ability to respond to real-time pricing, load & demand management, alternative energy, frequency control and other signals available from power companies. So when wind is not being used at night, these can soak up the excess, amounting to distributed wind storage.

For homeowners and businesses, thermal energy storage heaters are available that can provide heating on demand at off-peak prices.  The annual cost of ETS heating in electricity can be as little as $500 because of that differential.

As more states add more wind power, off-peak pricing will increase as states try to time shift electricity consumers to night time. Oklahoma recently discovered that once it was priced right, off-peak pricing was able to  eliminate the need to build a new coal fired plant.

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About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today, PV-Insider , SmartGridUpdate, and GreenProphet. She has also been published at Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.



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