Jul 30, 2021 | San Francisco Chronicle

How One Energy Company Is Giving Businesses a Way to Stay Powered During California’s Expected Summer Outages

San Francisco Chronicle 

California has the least reliable electric grid in the U.S. by a significant margin, receiving a grade of D- by The American Society of Engineers.

Summer 2021 has only just begun and already we’re seeing record-breaking temperatures and severe droughts, a yearly trend that’s expected to continue. While we brace ourselves for a catastrophic fire season and expected outages, California’s failing energy grid could devastate its businesses and population.

In the face of these challenges, California has offered an unsatisfying solution. The major utilities are cutting off power in hopes to avoid causing wildfires in the extreme heat and drought. These prolonged outages decimate businesses who can’t operate without basic electric services.

When the power goes out, many businesses in California turn to diesel-powered generators to keep the lights on. This is highly problematic, for two reasons:

1. Diesel fuel is one of the dirtiest forms of electricity generation in the U.S., hindering California’s climate goals. It is hard to overstate the hypocrisy of attempting to solve a climate-driven crisis by drastically increasing the state’s emissions footprint during de-energization events.

2. While diesel fuel is widely available on normal days, it is extremely difficult for most customers to procure during widespread regional power outages. As the vast majority of diesel generators have short duration storage tanks, operators will need to be prepared to refuel multiple times during the average public safety power shutoff. The feasibility of ensuring businesses have reliable access to diesel fuel under these circumstances is unrealistic.

To their credit, state officials and utilities don’t have an easy task on their hands. California has more than 250,000 miles of overhead power lines running through a territory with over 100 million dead trees, making the need to do something to avoid massive wildfires dire.

More likely, California’s solution to power unreliability will need to come from somewhere else. Microgrids are the best bet. A microgrid is a local energy system with control capability, which means it can disconnect from the traditional grid and operate autonomously. A microgrid not only provides backup for the traditional grid in case of emergencies but can also be used to cut costs. A microgrid allows communities and businesses to be more energy independent and more environmentally friendly.

Clean energy microgrids, like those commissioned by Scale Microgrid Solutions, are largely centered around rooftop solar and storage technologies and represent a far superior approach. The microgrid functions in parallel with the utility to provide energy savings and environmental benefits. It also gives you the ability to enter “island mode” during grid outages to provide complete reliability and resiliency when incorporating a clean dispatchable generator. Scale’s systems generate electricity in a manner consistent with the state’s environmental agenda with minimal external fuel requirements.

For $0 in upfront capital, businesses with large energy-consuming footprints can have clean, reliable power when, not if, the rest of the grid goes dark. Scale’s Energy-as-a-Service Agreement works similarly to receiving a monthly electric bill, however, you don’t need to worry about California’s rising electricity rates – your bill stays the same.

Your business depends on reliable power. Be part of California’s energy solution. Check out Scale’s Quick Quote Tool to see how much you could save with a clean, resilient microgrid.