arrow_drop_up arrow_drop_down

Base Load and Peak Load: understanding both concepts

What are Base Load and Peak Load?

Load, in electrical engineering, is the amount of current being drawn by all the components (appliances, motors, machines, etc.). Load is further categorised as base load and peak load depending upon the nature of the electrical components connected. As you may be familiar, all electrical appliances at your home do not run at all times.
  • A toaster or microwave oven may be used for a few minutes,
  • A television or computer may be used for a few hours
  • Lighting in the house is only required during the evening and so on.
There are several appliances which keep running at all the times, no matter what. The refrigerator, for example, has to be plugged in at all the times. Another such example are the heating, ventilation and cooling systems in the house (HVAC system).

base load peak load

Peak Load and Base Load defined

Base load is the minimum level of electricity demand required over a period of 24 hours. It is needed to provide power to components that keep running at all times (also referred as continuous load). Peak load is the time of high demand. These peaking demands are often for only shorter durations. In mathematical terms, peak demand could be understood as the difference between the base demand and the highest demand. Now going back to the examples of household loads: microwave oven, toaster and television are examples of peak demand, whereas refrigerator and HVAC systems are examples of base demand.

A broader perspective of understanding these concepts

Now on a broader perspective, it could be assumed that the electrical grid is a big household. Under normal circumstances, the power required by the electrical grid is fairly constant during various period of the day. This constant power, which is required at all times, is called the base loading. But during a special event, like the final match of World Cup, the demand will be more, as a lot of people will watch TV. This short, high demand period is considered to be a peak loading. Base Load and Peak Load

Base Load and Peak Load power plants

Power plants are also categorised as base load and peak load power plants.

Base Load Power plants

Plants that are running continuously over extended periods of time are said to be base load power plant. The power from these plants is used to cater the base demand of the grid. A power plant may run as a base load power plant due to various factors (long starting time requirement, fuel requirements, etc.). Examples of base load power plants are:
  1. Nuclear power plant
  2. Coal power plant
  3. Hydroelectric plant
  4. Geothermal plant
  5. Biogas plant
  6. Biomass plant
  7. Solar thermal with storage
  8. Ocean thermal energy conversion

Peak Load Power plants

To cater the demand peaks, peak load power plants are used. They are started up whenever there is a spike in demand and stopped when the demand recedes. Examples of gas load power plants are:
  1. Gas plant
  2. Solar power plants
  3. Wind turbines
  4. Diesel generators
Rahul Panchal
By

Rahul Panchal

on 07 Mar 2020

simple & easy to understand

Kekeli
By

Kekeli

on 12 Sep 2018

A master piece ! Thanks for your crystal clear explanation

Govt ITI HIRAKUD
By

Govt ITI HIRAKUD

on 05 Sep 2018

Thanks sir ,I understand that things

Soumyarup chowdhury
By

Soumyarup chowdhury

on 26 Apr 2018

Nicely expressing thoughts .. Article...with easy xmples.... All the best for ur upcoming article...... ­čśŐ

Dr. Ramana
By

Dr. Ramana

on 13 Apr 2018

Very Nice Explanation . Examples are very good. Simple and more effective to understand. One can easily understand the whole concept from these few lines when we cant get clear information form 100 of pages,

Khairul
By

Khairul

on 08 Apr 2018

Thank you brother. it so helpful

Vishal
By

Vishal

on 09 Feb 2018

Easy to understand...great job.

Peter
By

Peter

on 28 Nov 2017

While this provides a basic understanding, the examples of which powerplants are for base load and which are for peaking is incorrect. Peaking plants are controlled to provide power during maximum demand periods. Solar and wind are not used for peaking because they are not usually controlled, but are administered as "must-take" energy and run whenever environmental conditions are favorable. Generally, base-load generators are those with long process stability times, such as nuclear, bio-mass, or co-gen, and other generators which utilize processes which have quick response times are used to peak.

Sahibzada Abdul Haseeb
By

Sahibzada Abdul Haseeb

on 11 Oct 2017

It's explained in a very simple, yet comprehensive way. Keep up the good work.

Sunday Baduku
By

Sunday Baduku

on 08 Sep 2017

nice explanation

SAYAK PAL
By

SAYAK PAL

on 19 Feb 2017

Good answers and easy to understand.

Manoj Arora
By

Manoj Arora

on 05 Jan 2017

A significant fraction of the average wind power production is available with 95% or greater probability, and so may be used for baseload power.

M rashid
By

M rashid

on 04 Jan 2017

A brilliant piece of work.thanks

bhagwat
By

bhagwat

on 28 Dec 2016

well understand your explanation

Ashish
By

Ashish

on 27 Nov 2016

Good explanation

Aziaka D.S
By

Aziaka D.S

on 19 Jul 2016

Good explanation, but would have been more professional if graphical representation was shown.

Fagbemi Ademola
By

Fagbemi Ademola

on 18 Jul 2016

These explosions are simplified and i assimilated the concepts so easily. Nice work

sivaprakasam
By

sivaprakasam

on 13 Jul 2016

very nice explanation,now i understood.

Elisha Akobueze .U
By

Elisha Akobueze .U

on 07 Jul 2016

my quest satisfied. thanks for nice explanation.

sylvester Ossai
By

sylvester Ossai

on 27 Jun 2016

thanks for this important piece of information. Is a light-bulb

madhu
By

madhu

on 07 Jun 2016

Tq nice explain and gud examples

James
By

James

on 22 May 2016

Thanks. Well understood

Austin
By

Austin

on 09 May 2016

Nice write up. I learnt from this.

Sylvester Kemei
By

Sylvester Kemei

on 29 Apr 2016

I can now tell the difference.

Sarojkumar
By

Sarojkumar

on 09 Feb 2018

Very good explanation , with example.

Jain k b
By

Jain k b

on 22 Jan 2017

Crisp understanding.Thanks

Place comment