By Joel Obillo
Joel Obillo is Head of Marketing and Sales for Enel North America. In this introduction to our new eBook, How to Evaluate Your Energy Resilience Needs, he discusses why the need to integrate energy resilience into an organization’s energy strategy is becoming more important, why the scope of energy resilience is increasing in today’s landscape, and how organizations can determine the energy resilience solutions that best align with their priorities and requirements.
Electricity is essential to nearly every aspect and sector of the modern economy and way of life. Demand for electricity has grown massively since the inception of the grid – in 2021, electricity consumption across the United States was about 13 times higher than it was in 1950. And consumption will continue to expand significantly to accommodate the electrification of sectors like transportation and heating.
With so much dependent on electricity, it’s important that power be reliable and affordable. But this is not the case yet. Large, sustained power outages are occurring more frequently as extreme weather is the new normal. In addition, electricity prices continue to increase in many regions across North America due to growing demand, emerging emissions constraints, long overdue infrastructure upgrades, and more.
These challenges prompt the question: is our current grid, with today’s resource mix and supporting capacity mechanisms, able to meet increasing customer expectations? Today’s power grid evolved over more than a century, but it was neither designed for the variability and intermittency of renewable energy nor was it designed to accommodate the type of two-way communications required for customer-sited distributed energy resources (DERs). It is also aging quickly, with some components far over their 50-year life expectancy
Not only that, climate change is both underscoring the need for clean electricity while putting additional stress on the grid. Increased energy consumption during extreme heat waves or cold spells increases demand on the grid, which in turn increases the risks for blackouts and brownouts and risks continuity of energy supply.
With their own assets, processes, and services reliant on a consistent stream of energy, many organizations face significant challenges to their productivity due to this increase in power outages – and many need a strategy to secure their energy supply. How resilient is your organization to the challenges created by the aging grid?
The Federal Energy Regulatory Committee (FERC) defines energy resilience as “the capacity to anticipate, adapt to, and recover from disruptive incidents.” For individual facilities, “resilience” can refer to the facility’s ability to continue energy-reliant operations when the grid goes down.
But as the grid continues to evolve, we should think of energy resilience in broader terms. In today’s world, power interruptions are certainly disruptive, but so is energy price volatility that affects organizations’ long-term operational costs, or growing stakeholder demands for increased sustainability. It’s therefore vital to build an energy resilience strategy that not only secures your operations from grid supply interruptions but also shields you from market and regulatory risks.
At Enel North America, we often speak with organizations who are interested in energy resilience and help them identify the best energy resilience solutions for their specific goals and budget. That’s why we’ve written a new eBook that provides some of the guidance we offer in these discussions. Read our eBook, How to Evaluate Your Energy Resilience Needs, to find out the three considerations for energy resilience, understand how you can determine the best energy resilience plan for your organization, and learn the typical steps in creating a plan for energy resilience.