Energy Efficiency  -  July 9, 2018 - By Allan Schurr

Resilience is becoming an absolute necessity

Resilience is often referred to as succeeding despite hardship. In human terms, it is the ability to shake off injury, persevere in the face of adversity, and generally recover from setbacks. In an energy context, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission defines resiliency as: "the ability to withstand and reduce the magnitude and/or duration of disruptive events, which includes the capability to anticipate, absorb, adapt to and/or rapidly recover from such an event." 

When it comes to power, resilience is becoming an absolute necessity.

Electricity is fundamental to modern society. We rely on it to power our homes and schools, grocery stores and hospitals, offices and factories. It is so ubiquitous that we often forget how vital electricity is until we suffer from a power outage.

Unfortunately, there is a growing imbalance between our increasing dependence on continuous flow of electricity and the volatile nature of the grid.  History shows that nearly 70 percent of businesses will experience at least one power outage within the next 12 months. Grid failures result in costly outages. Some businesses report that just one outage can cost the company over $100,000 in product loss and reduced revenue, not to mention poor health outcomes and frustration or inconvenience.  

The grid has many vulnerabilities, and risks to electricity infrastructure continue to grow with a trend of more long-duration outages. Major storms impact all areas of the country and are headlines for some but tragedies for others. In 2017, the United States saw 17 different extreme weather events whose damage exceeded $1 billion, including wildfires in the West, ice and hail in the Eastern and Northern regions, flooding and tornadoes in the Central region and hurricanes on the Gulf Coast.

Equally, as the grid ages, human error and equipment failure are more common. Some of the worst blackouts in United States history were caused by something as simple as alarm failure or overgrown trees. One California utility reports that metallic balloons accounted for nearly 500 separate outage events in one year. Perhaps even more detrimental, cyberterrorism has the potential to shut down parts of the grid for days at a time, devastating thousands of people. In addition, cyber threats are difficult to recover from because the problem is often buried in a single line of malicious computer code. 

In our digital economy, businesses strive to utilize the latest technologies in order to run smoothly. But most organizations are unaware of the latest on-site energy resiliency solutions – an enhancement to the typical back-up generators of yore which depend on uncertain fuel deliveries during critical outages. New business models that provide affordable, clean and continuous back-up power as a service while simultaneously supporting the broader grid are the power equivalent of having your cake and eating it too. Time for dessert!

 

Allan Schurr joined the Enchanted Rock team in 2018 and brings go-to-market expertise from over 30 years of experience in commercial and industrial energy services and innovative utility solutions. Allan is responsible for direct sales, corporate and product marketing, and channel sales functions.

Prior to joining Enchanted Rock, Allan was founding president of Edison Energy LLC, an energy advisory and solutions unit of Edison International, was vice president for IBM’s Energy and Utilities industry, led marketing and business development at Silicon Energy, a pioneer in enterprise energy management software that was later acquired by Itron, and utility and non-utility senior roles at Pacific Gas and Electric.

Allan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Davis, a masters degree in business administration from St. Mary’s College in California, and is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of California. He is co-inventor on seven patents related to distributed energy.

 

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