Portable e-Generators Could Solve the Energy Resiliency Conundrum

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average American home endured more than eight hours without power in 2020 – more than double the outage time five years ago. The 2021 numbers haven’t been crunched yet, but it’s safe to assume that it’s going to be the new leader.

In February last year, severe winter storms caused a power failure in Texas, leaving millions of homes in the dark, sometimes for days, and at least 200 dead. In June and July, heat waves in Oregon melted power cables and triggered blackouts, contributing to many of the more than 95 heat-related deaths in the state. Around the same time, heat waves in British Columbia claimed nearly 600 lives. A couple of months later, Hurricane Ida knocked out power for at least 1.2 million homes and businesses across eight states, killing at least 12 Louisianans. A mid-November storm that dumped a month’s worth of rain on British Columbia led to $7.5 billion in damage and 15,000 people having to flee their homes. And finally, by December, a total of 8,835 fires burned more than 2.5 million acres of Californian land. All this is just North America.

Across the North American region, utilities are scrambling to keep up with a barrage of extreme weather stemming from a rapidly warming climate. There are no signs of improvement for 2022. What makes the grid especially vulnerable now is a combination of two problems:

  1. Climate change: The wild and unpredictable weather linked to global warming will very likely push North American grids beyond their limits.
  2. Aging infrastructure: Most power lines that we use today were constructed in the 50s and 60s with a life expectancy of 50 years. Suffice to say, they’ve done their job and need to be retired.

There is a growing need to improve infrastructure resiliency in the utility industry. The demand for secure, affordable and environmentally sustainable energy is growing. These demands place a strain on energy infrastructure, resources and financing – especially now when energy policies and technologies are in transition. We are in the midst of an energy transition with renewables like solar or wind. The problem is, energy isn’t always readily available with these resources. The sun doesn’t shine at night and the wind will not always be steady. This is where energy storage – e-Generators in particular – plays a key part.

What is energy resiliency?

In the interest of being succinct, resilience is having the ability to prepare and adapt to changing conditions and recover in a timely manner when disruptions occur due to a significant event. In the context of energy, resiliency refers to the ability to quickly restore power during a power outage.

The role of e-Generators in energy resiliency

An often-touted solution to the power outage problem is a gas-guzzling generator. The problem is, leaving a fossil fuel generator running for long periods of time is costly and may require maintenance after a few days of consistent usage. Moreover, fossil fuel generators are the grim reaper of consumer products. Since 2005, these death machines have killed an average of 70 people a year, making them one of the most dangerous consumer products on the market.

The cleaner solution: battery power stations or e-Generators. Over the last six years, our Voltstack® ecosystem of e-Generators or portable power stations have quietly charged past idling gas and diesel generators to become an industry leader in sustainability with silent, emissions-free operation, portability, and robust construction. From small, nimble units capable of revolutionizing film productions to large mobile EV chargers, these battery-powered portable power stations can be combined in any combination or configuration to requirements.

Between their storage capacity and software integrations that allow for real-time monitoring, carbon emissions abated tracking, key alerts and data analytics, Voltstack® e-Generators or portable power stations can be used as GPS-equipped mini power plants that, at the very least, can keep the lights on during extreme weather events. At the top end of that spectrum, Voltstack® e-Generators have proven that they can save lives.

During the 2020 and 2021 wildfire seasons, Portable Electric partnered with Pacific Gas and Electric to provide life-saving backup power for medical baseline customers and food banks affected by PSPS events caused by wildfires. That isn’t the first time our e-Generators have rolled into action to help those in need. In 2018, we sent a truckload of Voltstack® e-Generators or portable power stations and solar panels, as well as trained technicians to help in relief efforts after Hurricane Florence.

Learn more about Voltstack® e-Generators.