Pooled Energy helps by managing the collective energy demand of swimming pools in such a way as to off-load the Grid and the Electricity Generating Fleet (Power stations) during peak events and stabilise it at other times.
The Americans call this “Shift, Shape, Shimmy and Shed.“
“Shift” is when you move energy consumption from times when the Grid is short of energy to times when it has enough. This is usually for periods of several or many hours. A battery does this and so does Pooled Energy.
Peak demand events are becoming more and more common as the Grid and climate change. These place significant strain on the Grid and it is very expensive to build sufficient Grid or other infrastructure to cope with it. Some 20%-45% of the present Grid’s infrastructure, depending on where you live, was built to handle the last 1% of demand (often just a few hours a year). In Australia, demand peaks typically occur on a hot summer night when everyone switches on the air-conditioning, all the pools are running, and there is no residential solar panel generation.
Pooled Energy anticipates such peak demand events via the weather forecast, prepares the pool by managing the chemistry to store extra sanitiser and ‘cleanliness’ in the water, and shifts the demand without the pool owner even noticing in almost every case. Preparation of the pool is typically done during the preceding off-peak periods and this keeps the pool sanitized with minimal or no energy consumption through a peak Grid event, or Power Generation failure event. Pool power demand can be shifted in time to both before and after the peak, without negative impact to the pool owner.
This level of control can be Grid-wide, or focussed on an electricity region or individual area feeder. It works best when there are many pools under management in an area, and reduces the local power consumption and stress on the local feeder, as well as the Grid as a whole. Both peak load and localised load variations are reduced. Peak load reduction reduces the peak cost of electricity on the wholesale market, which ultimately flows through to the consumer. The ultimate outcome is reduced operating costs for the pool owner.
“Shape” is the process of reducing the effect of transients in the Grid and smoothing them out. This is a process that usually occurs on a timescale of minutes. For example, if all the PV panels in a suburb light up simultaneously after a rapidly passing cloud, a rising wave of power courses through the Grid. If a power station suddenly stops operating, or a main feeder is cut by a bush-fire, there is a sharp negative surge. Pooled Energy helps smooth out such surges by modulating the collective swimming pool power demand. Modulating power demand means varying the aggregate demand of pool pumps and chlorinators, up and down over periods of minutes. This compares with “Shift,” where the shifting process is typically many hours. “Shape” makes no practical difference to the operation of the pool, but it can make a big difference to the Grid.
“Shimmy” is the process of minimising “wobble” in the Grid and takes place on a timescale of about 5 seconds. The crash of the South Australian Grid during 2016, was due to a ‘wobble’ in its frequency. Pooled Energy helps avoid a Grid crash by providing a service to the National Electricity Market called FCAS. The details are technical but, simplistically, it adds stability.
“Shed” is the process of shutting everything down in extreme conditions, but, if you can ‘Shift’ you really do not need to ‘Shed.’
All of these are provided by Pooled Energy without negative impact or cost to the pool owner. In fact, their pools become substantially better.
In more detail, the introduction of solar panels and wind farms has imposed large stresses on the Grid which was not designed with them in mind. Power at your house comes via a transmission
line from the power station and the voltage on it varies quite a lot during the day as demand goes up and down. The nominal 240 volts can exceed 260V when demand is low in the middle of the night, and sag to under 220V in the evenings when demand is high. With many solar panels in some suburbs, the voltage can surge to over 300V during strong sunlight, and sag to under 200V
when clouds go by or wind drops. The higher voltage tends to burn out appliances, and the lower to brown out the supply.
Pooled Energy can help the Grid by using its central computer to collectively run the pools in an electricity region opposite to the effect caused by the solar panels and wind farms. When Grid voltage is high, the collective pools run harder. When Grid voltage is low, the collective pools run slower. This damps out the intermittent effects of solar and wind generation at a fraction of the cost of other ways of doing this using conventional methods or batteries within the Grid itself. We expect the Grid to pay for these services, once we have sufficient pools under management and this will lower all our costs.
Overall, the aggregate electricity demand of Pooled Energy’s managed pools appears to the Grid like a vast distributed battery. Pools are not batteries, of course, but, to the Electricity Grid, they appear just that way when modulated as described.