Chris Cummiskey, chief commercial and customer solutions officer at the Southern Company, sits down virtually with Sarah Rubenoff, special projects editor at Microgrid Knowledge, to discuss the growing value of energy resiliency in a world increasingly wracked by the results of climate change — and what this means for the microgrid industry going forward.
The past year was marked by disaster, which went beyond the global pandemic that rocked the world. Hurricanes wracked the Gulf of Mexico in the US, and wildfires engulfed forests and residential areas in California. Needless to say, energy resilience is becoming crucial for success in today’s market.
The new white paper from PowerSecure takes a look back at the company’s energy resilience performance for 2020 at its 1,800 managed microgrid systems across the country, further focusing on the importance of energy reliability today.
“Recent natural event patterns suggest that extreme weather events are only increasing in intensity and frequency,” PowerSecure points out, highlighting the present and future importance of energy resilience.
In fact, the report points out, eight of 10 ten costliest hurricane seasons have been in the past 20 years — with four of these in just the past five years.
“The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season was the busiest on record, with 31 depressions, 30 storms and 13 hurricanes. Needless to say, resiliency is top of mind for many industries.” — PowerSecure
Further, with fires in the West and destructive storms in the Midwest, compounded by operational disruptions caused by COVID-19, 2020 was a particularly challenging year to ensure power and energy resiliency in the US.
More and more, businesses and organizations are looking to ensure energy resiliency across all of the year’s natural event-related outages.
And many have turned to microgrids in recent years.
PowerSecure manages many of these microgrids in the US, and the report outlines a case study that aims to show readers the value of a microgrid’s resiliency application at the individual customer level. The report explores an example of damage from Hurricane Laura, and two retail customers near Lake Charles who both lost grid power for extended periods of time.
“Both stores’ microgrid system came online immediately as the outage happened and carried the facility’s full load until grid power was restored, 12 and 21 days later,” the report says.
The white paper also points out that two keys to ensuring energy resiliency in a microgrid system is enhanced system testing to ensure the desired level of reliability is achieved, and extra fueling services.
“Routine fueling ensures that systems are topped off and ready to go,” PowerSecure says.
According to the report, in total, 566 PowerSecure systems across 283 unique customer sites in 19 states successfully provided power in island mode while customers were impacted by grid outages.
Download the full report, “Before, During & After the Storm: Quantifying Resiliency and Reliability,” to further explore PowerSecure’s 2020 experience in the microgrid market.