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How is running appliances at night better for the environment?

  • 12-03-2021 9:51am
    #1
    Moderators Posts: 11,980 ✭✭✭✭ Black_Knight


    I've heard it said a lot, but looking at eirgrid we never seem to produce nearly enough wind power to meet our off peak (night) demand, so our fossil fuel power plants are going to be operational.

    So how does switching to running things at night benefit the environment? We don't magically produce more renewable forms of electricity at night, rather a higher % of our electricity is renewable, so at the end of the day i'm still burning something to run my dishwasher.

    Is it that we don't have to power up coal or peat power plants, and that gas is the lesser of all evils (ie. the only, and cleanest, non renewable running at night)?


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Comments

  • Administrators, Computer Games Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 31,031 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭ Mickeroo


    I've heard it said a lot, but looking at eirgrid we never seem to produce nearly enough wind power to meet our off peak (night) demand, so our fossil fuel power plants are going to be operational.

    So how does switching to running things at night benefit the environment? We don't magically produce more renewable forms of electricity at night, rather a higher % of our electricity is renewable, so at the end of the day i'm still burning something to run my dishwasher.

    Is it that we don't have to power up coal or peat power plants, and that gas is the lesser of all evils (ie. the only, and cleanest, non renewable running at night)?

    You answered your own question there I think no? A higher % of the mix is renewable due to lower demand so you are likely using more renewable energy than you would during peak times. You are also helping keep demand a little lower during peak times putting less pressure on the grid.

    I don't see how that wouldn't be better for the environment?


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 58,874 CMod ✭✭✭✭ unkel


    Over 50% of electricity produced in Ireland during night rate hours is renewable (wind). There is a thread somewhere in this forum where KCross shows this. This percentage is far, far higher than the percentage during the day rate hours (and even higher again than during peak early evening hours)

    While our total electricity consumption will grow very sharply over the next few decades as we are moving away from burning fossil fuels for all our needs, it becomes even more important to spread the load over the 24 hours of the day. If we don't we will need a huge investment in upgrading the grid and also in having backup power for when there are no / not enough renewables

    Using the night rate should be strongly encouraged. It is simply better for everyone. This is already being done at a commercial level without a cent of tax payers money being used: Energia now have a tariff scheme where you are punished for using day electricity, but you get a very good night rate of just 4.79c / kWh including VAT. I moved to this scheme myself a few weeks ago. My own target is to use 90-95% of all my electricity at night from around this summer

    "Wind is Ireland's oil" - An Taoiseach, 25/05/2022



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,359 ✭✭✭ RebelButtMunch


    I've heard it said a lot, but looking at eirgrid we never seem to produce nearly enough wind power to meet our off peak (night) demand, so our fossil fuel power plants are going to be operational.

    So how does switching to running things at night benefit the environment? We don't magically produce more renewable forms of electricity at night, rather a higher % of our electricity is renewable, so at the end of the day i'm still burning something to run my dishwasher.

    Is it that we don't have to power up coal or peat power plants, and that gas is the lesser of all evils (ie. the only, and cleanest, non renewable running at night)?

    I'd guess they have to supplement renewable energy with fossil energy more so during the day than at night when demand is less.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,730 ✭✭✭ graememk


    unkel wrote: »
    Over 50% of electricity produced in Ireland during night rate hours is renewable (wind). There is a thread somewhere in this forum where KCross shows this. This percentage is far, far higher than the percentage during the day rate hours (and even higher again than during peak early evening hours)

    I think this is the thread https://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showpost.php?p=116019352&postcount=352

    Is it that we don't have to power up coal or peat power plants, and that gas is the lesser of all evils (ie. the only, and cleanest, non renewable running at night)?

    Yeah and Gas has a really fast response time too, can be turned up and down relatively fast.


  • Moderators Posts: 11,980 ✭✭✭✭ Black_Knight


    Mickeroo wrote: »
    You answered your own question there I think no? A higher % of the mix is renewable due to lower demand so you are likely using more renewable energy than you would during peak times. You are also helping keep demand a little lower during peak times putting less pressure on the grid.

    I don't see how that wouldn't be better for the environment?

    But if, as unkel says, 50% of the night time electricity is from renewables, then the other 50% is from fossil fuels. We can't turn up the wind, but we can turn up the gas. So for every extra person switching items to the night time, they're theoretically using gas. So once all the wind energy is used, we're back using fossil fuels. How is that better for the environment?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,882 ✭✭✭ Smee_Again


    But if, as unkel says, 50% of the night time electricity is from renewables, then the other 50% is from fossil fuels. We can't turn up the wind, but we can turn up the gas. So for every extra person switching items to the night time, they're theoretically using gas. So once all the wind energy is used, we're back using fossil fuels. How is that better for the environment?

    Because less people use electricity at night. So while it’s a 50/50 split the total being used is less than during the day.

    If everyone started using more electricity at night then it’d be a different story but that’s not going to happen.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 58,874 CMod ✭✭✭✭ unkel


    But if, as unkel says, 50% of the night time electricity is from renewables, then the other 50% is from fossil fuels. We can't turn up the wind, but we can turn up the gas. So for every extra person switching items to the night time, they're theoretically using gas.

    No it doesn't work like that. The grid can handle more wind every year, a few years ago it was max 50%, now it is approaching max 80%. But still quite often we produce more wind than the grid can handle (and we can dump on the interconnetor) so we have to pay someone to take our electricity (negative price).

    With smart meters, and smart contracts, people could take this electricity to load up their EVs and home attached batteries for nothing or actually being paid for it. Sounds like a far fetched utopian dream? Au contraire. This has already happened last year in the UK if you signed up with the utility provider Octopus.

    The other side of the coin is that you can get paid a premium if you let the utility company take electricity out of your EV or your home attached storage during peak hours. A zero total annual electricity bill is quite possible in a few years time for people like that who help stabilise the grid (at their own cost)

    "Wind is Ireland's oil" - An Taoiseach, 25/05/2022



  • Administrators, Computer Games Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 31,031 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭ Mickeroo


    But if, as unkel says, 50% of the night time electricity is from renewables, then the other 50% is from fossil fuels. We can't turn up the wind, but we can turn up the gas. So for every extra person switching items to the night time, they're theoretically using gas. So once all the wind energy is used, we're back using fossil fuels. How is that better for the environment?

    On average the ratio of renewables to fossil fuels in the mix relative to demand will be better at night. The aim is to balance demand not shift all of it to the night time, if it was all shifted to the night time then daytime use would be more environmentally friendly. Currently night time is more environmentally friendly.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,160 ✭✭✭ Ubbquittious


    There is no solar power during the night and if it's not a windy night nearly all power comes from gas, coal and oil

    Ireland's premier property crash prediction site




  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 16,081 Mod ✭✭✭✭ slave1


    There is no solar power during the night and if it's not a windy night nearly all power comes from gas, coal and oil

    Do Eirgrid have solar?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,912 ✭✭✭ mp3guy


    There is no solar power during the night and if it's not a windy night nearly all power comes from gas, coal and oil

    Nuclear via interconnect?


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,160 ✭✭✭ Ubbquittious


    slave1 wrote: »
    Do Eirgrid have solar?


    Eirgrid have feck all now only the thankless job of keeping the cables in one piece. All because d'EU wanted to make a select group of foreign investors wealthy

    Ireland's premier property crash prediction site




  • Registered Users Posts: 1,513 ✭✭✭ jkforde


    Running heavy load appliances at night is great to use up the cheap, green power but no way will I run anything with a big load at night. No amount of savings is worth that fire risk.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,912 ✭✭✭ mp3guy


    jkforde wrote: »
    Running heavy load appliances at night is great to use up the cheap, green power but no way will I run anything with a big load at night. No amount of savings is worth that fire risk.

    It's not the 80s any more.


  • Moderators Posts: 11,980 ✭✭✭✭ Black_Knight


    jkforde wrote: »
    Running heavy load appliances at night is great to use up the cheap, green power but no way will I run anything with a big load at night. No amount of savings is worth that fire risk.

    I better not charge the car so.


  • Site Banned Posts: 21 ✭✭✭ U2erthy


    I would not run anything when you go asleep there has been plenty of dishwasher/washing machine/ electric dryer fires


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,987 ✭✭✭ haphaphap


    Anything which balances out the load means they don't have to spin up coal and oil generating stations. That is where the benefit to the environment comes.
    anything which helps not to empty Turlough Hill is of benefit too.
    Avoiding running any devices which consumes a lot of power during peak hours e.g. Morning and Evening helps if you insist on running the devices during the day.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 16,081 Mod ✭✭✭✭ slave1


    U2erthy wrote: »
    I would not run anything when you go asleep there has been plenty of dishwasher/washing machine/ electric dryer fires

    Any recently, from quality models?


  • Moderators Posts: 11,980 ✭✭✭✭ Black_Knight


    slave1 wrote: »
    Any recently, from quality models?

    "APPLIANCE DOESN'T CATCH FIRE!" doesn't really grab the headlines much. It's an understandable concern I guess, but what are the odds? Allegedly 20 people in the US die every year from cows. 5 Bosch dishwashers in the early 00s caused property damage.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,292 ✭✭✭ 0lddog


    U2erthy wrote: »
    I would not run anything when you go asleep there has been plenty of dishwasher/washing machine/ electric dryer fires

    Anyone who doubts the above might check it out with DFB.

    They are on Twitter https://twitter.com/DubFireBrigade


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,987 ✭✭✭ haphaphap


    I'd worry more about the wiring in an old house than the appliance.
    If your wiring is bad an EV connected by granny cable could burn it out.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 58,874 CMod ✭✭✭✭ unkel


    haphaphap wrote: »
    Anything which balances out the load means they don't have to spin up coal and oil generating stations.

    True, except there is near zero electricity generation in Ireland from coal or oil. There is from gas though.

    "Wind is Ireland's oil" - An Taoiseach, 25/05/2022



  • Moderators Posts: 11,980 ✭✭✭✭ Black_Knight


    unkel wrote: »
    True, except there is near zero electricity generation in Ireland from coal or oil. There is from gas though.

    Peat is used though, yeah?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,987 ✭✭✭ haphaphap


    unkel wrote: »
    True, except there is near zero electricity generation in Ireland from coal or oil. There is from gas though.
    And that is the way to keep it so don't cause increased demand which forces them to take those plants out of mothballs.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,666 ✭✭✭✭ JPA


    Peat is used though, yeah?

    No, not anymore. Was fully stopped in December.


  • Registered Users Posts: 409 ✭✭ phester28


    unkel wrote: »
    True, except there is near zero electricity generation in Ireland from coal or oil. There is from gas though.

    both coal and oil were being used in moneypoint recently.

    Coal is its regular burn


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 58,874 CMod ✭✭✭✭ unkel


    phester28 wrote: »
    both coal and oil were being used in moneypoint recently.

    Coal is its regular burn

    Moneypoint was pretty much shut down for most of 2020, but seems to be operating again at a very minimal setting. It's the only coal burning plant in Ireland. I don't know why they don't just close it. It an environmental horror. And it is end of life anyway.

    "Wind is Ireland's oil" - An Taoiseach, 25/05/2022



  • Closed Accounts Posts: 891 sebdavis


    Why is it better? I talked to a UK grid person before. What they want is a flat grid, no peaks etc. It costs more to ramp up & down all the time.

    The best and cheapest would be just a constant requirement 24 x 7 and it never changes. Now UK grid is different as nucleur but Ireland will want to get to the same,.


  • Registered Users Posts: 21,599 ✭✭✭✭ ted1


    I'd guess they have to supplement renewable energy with fossil energy more so during the day than at night when demand is less.

    The consumption is down at night time.
    We need Thermal plant to produce at least 25% of the system load. At night time the renewables are curtailed and the thermal plant operating at sub par efficiency.
    Increasing the system demand means we can add more renewables and the efficiency of the thermal power pant can Increase


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  • Registered Users Posts: 21,599 ✭✭✭✭ ted1


    unkel wrote: »
    Moneypoint was pretty much shut down for most of 2020, but seems to be operating again at a very minimal setting. It's the only coal burning plant in Ireland. I don't know why they don't just close it. It an environmental horror. And it is end of life anyway.

    They’ve wrote off the value of the plant so it’s gone from the books. It’s still the cheapest way to produce a base load. Cant see it being in operation in 5 years


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