Keeping The Lights On…Even In The Dark

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In Southern California at our Los Angeles manufacturing plant, we have been basking in a late summer heatwave. September has brought high temperatures to California’s drought and fire stricken state, causing energy use for cooling and ventilation to reach peak demand levels leading to temporary unexpected power outages. While the conditions are a stark contrast to a wet and windy Hurricane Sandy that knocked out power across the northeast in October 2012, the resulting outages demonstrate the fragility of our energy infrastructure in the face of extreme conditions.

Extreme situations like these may pose no problems as long as our utilities are equipped to meet this rising demand and respond during disasters. But what happens when they can’t? Grid downtime impacts consumers in the form of planned rolling blackouts or, worse, the shock of unplanned power outages, and can mean costly losses in data, inventory and productivity. In our uber-connected world, a business going completely dark because of unplanned power loss is unthinkable and has an annual commercial impact of $150B, according to a 2004 study by EPRI and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. In a residence, it can be fatal.

Businesses and residential properties have been increasingly adding distributed power generation such as solar, cogeneration or fuel cells to their resilience strategies. However, in times of power loss, those with distributed generation may find themselves no better off than before – the solar that feeds back to the grid is no more available to them than energy from the utility.

That is, unless they have solar energy storage onsite.

Energy storage systems, like the CODA Core™, provide backup power, or uninterrupted power source (UPS), for times of need – and they do not cost more to deploy than current energy from a utility. The CODA Core is capable of keeping essential systems, such as elevators, communications, and lighting, up and running to allow communities to effectively respond to crisis. This may be the life-saving difference for elderly or disabled tenants stranded and at risk in a crisis unless backup energy is available to power elevators. It can also mean access to transportation, like gas pump operation or electric vehicle charging, or something as basic and crucial as cellphone charging to allow families and neighbors to keep in contact.

Onsite backup energy storage should be a core element of all resilience and emergency preparedness planning to ensure business continuity, safety and security, and above all, peace of mind.