January 10, 2018

Microgrid Knowledge has a great article on why microgrids—like the one at Peña Station NEXT—are so important to our future. Below is an excerpt from Elisa Wood’s article.

Sometimes events make an argument more strongly than words can. Such was the case in 2017 when disaster after disaster spoke to the vulnerability of the electric grid and the need for microgrids to ensure power supply.

First came Hurricane Harvey in late August with wind and water knocking out 10,000 MW of generating capacity in Texas. Then on September 10 Irma left 8.5 million electric accounts (far more if actual people are counted) without electricity in the U.S. southeast, including about two-thirds of Florida.

Irma and Harvey were just a prelude to Hurricane Maria’s complete toppling of Puerto Rico’s grid on September 20. For years we had heard such a thing could happen. But never before had an entire electric grid collapsed in North America, nor has a widespread outage ever lasted so long.

Why we need microgrids during storms

And now we know that restoration can take months. Puerto Rico had hoped to have electricity working by the end of 2017. But as of late December, 1.5 million people remained without power. That is half of the island’s population. It is the equivalent of Rhode Island and Boston having no electricity for three months.

Worse, U.S. officials do not expect full restoration until sometime in the spring.

As if that weren’t enough, wildfires on the West Coast caused massive destruction in 2017. Even those not directly in the fire’s path felt the effects as the flames distorted transmission and distribution lines, causing widespread power outages.

You can read the full article here.