Leveraging Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) for Peak Shaving and Peak Shifting

Power Control
01 Nov 2023

In today’s fast paced world, where industries rely heavily on technology and energy consumption is at an all-time high, the need for a consistent and reliable power supply has become paramount. Uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) have emerged as a critical component in ensuring dependable operations, especially during mains power outages, brownouts, and power anomalies.

Beyond their conventional power backup applications, UPS systems have the potential to play a crucial role in optimising energy consumption through peak shaving and peak shifting strategies to save costs and enhance energy efficiency.


What is peak shaving?

Peak shaving often referred a strategy employed by businesses to reduce their electricity costs by limiting the amount of electricity they draw from the grid during peak demand periods. These periods are typically characterised by higher electricity prices due to increased strain on the power grid.

 In this article we are also spotlighting peak shaving to reduce the maximum amount of electricity drawn in order not to overload the available supply or building infrastructure.


Problems peak shaving resolves.

Small supply but high demand. Many buildings and site are limited to the amount of power available. However the client may wish to install equipment where power peaks beyond the available supply for short time. In this instance the incoming protective devices will trip the power.

 Many devices demand high power for small amounts of time. For example, scanners, motors and drives can pull a high current for maybe minutes or just seconds before settling down to a smaller nominal power demand.

Other applications may have a high capacity that is limited by the available power supply. For example, a charging station may have a number of high capacity EV chargers, however these are hindered by a smaller available supply. 

Peak shaving battery system allows the smaller existing supply to be used, while providing stored power to supply peak requirements without the need of upgrading the infrastructure just to cope limited high demand,


How does a UPS help in Peak Shaving?

UPS systems primarily designed to provide backup power during outages, can also assist in peak shaving in the following three ways:


  1. Load management: UPS systems can be programmed to manage loads efficiently. During peak demand, they can distribute power from their internal battery banks to offset the load, this reducing the amount of electricity drawn from the grid.


  1. Energy storage: Some modern UPS systems such as the Legrand Keor HPE and Borri Ingenio Max can be equipped with energy storage capabilities. They store excess electricity during off-peak hours when energy costs are lower. This stored energy can then be used during peak hours, reducing the need for grid power.


  1. Voltage Regulation: UPS systems can help to regulate voltage levels, ensuring a stable and consistent power supply. This stability allows for more efficient energy consumption, reducing the likelihood of power surges during peak periods.


What is Peak Shifting?

Peak shifting is another energy management strategy that involves shifting energy intensive tasks or operations to off-peak hours. This strategy aims to reduce energy consumption during peak periods to reduce demand or take advantage of lower electricity rates during non-peak hours.


How does a UPS help in Peak Shifting?

UPS systems contribute to peak shifting in the following ways.


  1. Scheduled Operations: Businesses can schedule the UPS to peak shave during high load and critical operations, such as data backups, server maintenance, or machinery operations. During these tasks, UPS units can power the equipment via batteries, reducing the load on the grid.


  1. Battery Backup: UPS systems equipped with extended battery backup capabilities can support essential functions during off-peak hours, allowing businesses to rely less on grid power when electricity rates are higher.


  1. Intelligent Monitoring: Advanced UPS units come with intelligent monitoring and management features. They can detect peak hours and automatically switch to battery power or alternative energy sources to minimise grid reliance.


The benefits of implementing UPS for Peak Shaving and Peak Shifting

Implementing UPS systems for peak shaving and peak shifting offers a multitude of benefits. Businesses can significantly lower infrastructure costs by reducing the energy consumed at peak demand and also taking advantage of lower rates during off-peak times.

UPS systems by their very nature improve the reliability of an electrical infrastructure, providing uninterrupted operations during power outages and safeguarding critical equipment and data. This increased reliability contributes to overall business continuity.

The mains grid has many vulnerabilities, whether its natural factors such as lightning, flooding or high-speed winds, a demand that outweighs the supply as we saw earlier in the year, or human error. By minimising peak demand on the grid, UPS systems contribute to grid stability and reliability, benefiting both businesses and the community.

Using a UPS system such as the Legrand Keor HPE or Borri Ingenio Max to supplement grid power also results in a reduced carbon footprint, aligning with sustainability goals and corporate social responsibility initiatives.


Battery Technology Considerations

When choosing a UPS for peak shaving or peak shifting application, battery technology is a crucial consideration. Two of the most common battery technologies are Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries and Valve Regulated Lead Acid (VRLA) batteries. It is important to note that VRLA batteries used for peak shaving and peak shifting are designed for cyclic purposes and differ slightly from the standard VRLA batteries used in UPS for typical standby applications.

The choice between each ultimately depends on the specific needs and priorities of the organisation and premises. Some factors to consider are:


  1. Budget: If upfront cost is a primary concern, VRLA batteries may be more the more economical choice
  2. Proven Technology: VRLA batteries have a long track record of reliability. They have been used in UPS systems for decades and are well understood and trusted.
  3. Space Constraints: If there is limited space available for the battery installation, Lithium Iron Phosphate’s fast charging capability may be the deciding factor.
  4. Longevity: If a long-term solution is needed and the business wants to minimise battery replacement frequency, Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries may be the better option.
  5. Charging Speed: If rapid energy transfer is essential for your application, Lithium Iron Phosphate’s fast charging capability may be necessary.


Each battery technology offers distinct advantages, and the right choice will be the one that best meets the needs of the company.

The Legrand Keor HPE and Borri Ingenio Max can be deployed with both types of battery technology making it a versatile UPS for all organisation types.

Speak to one of our team to find out more about the benefits of using UPS systems for peak shaving and shifting, 01246 431 431 or email info@powercontrol.co.uk