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Summer Outages Are Coming. Is Your Facility Prepared?

On-site microgrids provide facilities with reliable energy during extreme weather that threatens utility blackouts and price increases.

Bloomberg News, the Wall Street Journal — almost every week we see news articles warning of more summer outages than ever before. The U.S. is experiencing more outages than other industrialized nations. Meanwhile, heatwaves, droughts, and wildfires are only becoming more common. The energy transition is here, and it’s going to be a bumpy ride for the next 10-20 years.

At the same time, the grid is shifting towards more intermittent renewables and shutting down existing power plants, leaving utilities with a thin reserve margin. This leaves large power users exposed to the risk of extended brownouts or outages.

On-site microgrids ensure facilities have reliable, affordable power during peak events, regardless of the state of the grid.

Extreme Weather Increases the Risk of Utility Blackouts

Early May should be too early for a heatwave, even in Texas. But already this year, grid operators expecting 105° temperatures across the state were forced to issue a grid outage warning and take action to stave off rolling blackouts. Nonetheless, some outages occurred as warned. Texas reached an almost record high in energy demand while generators and transmission operators scrambled to complete repairs and weatherization of a rapidly decaying grid.

The state avoided most blackouts during the grid usage spike, but not all. For instance, the utility shut off some Austin area customers due to the high demand, which exceeded 71 GW ahead of the summer peak season (75 GW is the record summer demand). At the same time, electricity prices rose sharply, reaching triple the average near Houston.

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