As we learn more about how to harness natural phenomenon to generate power and electricity, the weather is no longer simply a filler for polite conversation. The impact of weather not only on power generation and energy supply but also on how the weather can disrupt electrical services, can certainly lead to more interesting and in-depth conversation.
One part of Earth Observation is the surveying of natural weather phenomena such as temperatures, winds, and rains. And when you’re working with a naturally occurring energy source like solar, wind, or hydropower energies, weather does determine, to a large extent, how efficient the energy generation will be.
The renewable energy industry, though far preferred by many as an energy source for being clean and sustainable, is still notoriously unreliable precisely because it is still so strongly affected by the weather. And while we may not be able to control the weather, our ability to predict what the weather will be like can go a long way in long-term planning and strategies in the renewable energy sector. Of course, many will say that not even the best weatherman can predict the weather with 100% accuracy, but with the increasing developments in our surveying technology in the Earth Observation field, we can come pretty close.
There are at least three ways by which weather changes can influence the electricity industry:
- Weather can impact power generation
As already stated, when you’re working with naturally occurring, renewable energy sources, how the weather is like at any given season can directly affect the efficiency of power generation using these alternative energy sources.
This is why the ability to predict weather has been in such high demand among the power sector. Data gleaned about the weather from Earth Observation has already gone a long way in determining the growth of the renewable energy sector because it has determined the optimal locations which would allow for maximum output of energy production, whether you are dealing with solar, wind, or hydro technology. And even then, unpredictable weather conditions may still happen, and can still have a significant impact on power generation. Heat waves, heavy rainfall, typhoons, tidal waves, snowfall – all these affect the very availability of these renewable energy sources, and also our ability to utilize them.
If you are a homeowner investing in solar paneling installation right at your home, you might want to consult with a properly-trained electrician – not only for the installation of the solar technology but also to help set your expectations as to the volume of energy you will be able to generate. Solar power, for instance, can be notoriously vulnerable to weather changes, and the efficiency of its power generation can be so intermittent that you might want to keep alternative energy sources open, in addition to solar power, just to be safe.
- Weather affects energy and electricity demand
Weather also has a significant effect on seasonal demands for electricity and actual energy use. The impact that weather has on energy use and electricity depend, however, to a large extent, on building types, building efficiency, and location. Buildings and the power consumption and energy performance of each, not just for lighting and electricity usage, but also for temperature regulation, are some of the greatest consumers of our energy supply. And how buildings consume power and electricity are also largely determined by weather conditions.
Seasonal changes and the resulting changes in the weather affect us human beings directly, as well as our basic needs for heat, light, cool temperatures, and ventilation, among others. Weather can also determine when electricity demand is at its peak, as well as the times of greatest energy usage.
- Weather greatly impacts an electrician’s job
Perhaps the most obvious effect of unpredictable weather in the energy sector is power outages. These may result from damage to the electrical connections and distributions system, where, for instance, electrical poles and electrical wires and cables may be compromised by severe weather conditions such as storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, or just simply excessive winds and rains. Many electricians will tell you that one of the most traditional, and certainly dangerous, part of their job is being out in the field in unfavorable weather conditions, all the while working with electrical wiring and live wires.
But even without power outages, weather already goes a long way in impacting an electrician’s job. There are the demands for checking and maintenance of air conditioning and heating units when the weather demands either one. Sometimes, an electrician’s work can be as basic as replacing worn or damaged wiring and sockets or checking and maintaining a building’s electrical system, from its power supply, lighting and alarm systems, to its centralized heating and cooling technologies. As the energy and power industry begins to grow more competitive, it moves away from being a public utility to an open and competitive private market, especially with the influx of private energy providers working with renewable energy sources. Their ability to deliver quality service in terms of customer service and quick responsive electrical work to customer demands can mean that the weather determines not just power supply, but also who gets to keep supplying the market.