A reliable, uninterrupted supply of power is critical for any business. However, the risk of power outages and interruptions has never been greater. Recent blackouts and brownouts have shown the fragility of the grid and the devastation even short disruptions can cause. That’s why improving your organization’s energy resilience must be a top priority.
This guide covers proven strategies you can implement to minimize reliance on the grid, secure reliable electricity for business, and ultimately protect against costly power failures. Follow these best practices to ensure your operations can weather any storm.
The Growing Threat of Power Interruption
While total grid failure is rare in developed nations, local outages and brownouts occur frequently. In fact, multiple studies show that power interruption costs industrial facilities billions annually. Even milliseconds of power loss causes significant financial damage and lost productivity.
And the risk is rising. Electricity demand continues to climb even as grids add more variable renewable sources like solar and wind. This makes balancing supply and load more difficult, increasing chances of failure. Extreme weather associated with climate change also threatens infrastructure.
Simply put, all signs point to an increasingly unstable grid. Organizations must act now to offset this volatility and secure their access to power. Indeed, those who fail to act risk dire financial, operational, and reputational consequences.
Transition to On-Site Power Generation
The most effective way to safeguard your business from grid supply issues is shifting to on-site, independent power generation. Installing sources like solar, wind turbines, fuel cells, microturbines, or backup generators can eliminate reliance on external transmission lines.
On-site power generation offers several key benefits as follows:
With your own generation capacity, you control energy delivery rather than depending on the grid. You can power through outages affecting the external network.
Producing your own electricity on-site often costs less than retail power over time. You also avoid demand charges for peak usage periods.
Combined heat and power (CHP) systems reuse waste thermal energy for heating or cooling. Overall efficiency reaches over 80% compared to 30-45% for conventional grid power.
With the ability to disconnect from the grid and operate independently, microgrids provide backup electricity even during prolonged outages.
Systems like solar arrays, fuel cells, wind turbines, and microturbines emit little or no greenhouse gasses thereby supporting environmental goals.
Secure Backup Power Systems
In addition to on-site power, your organization must invest in reliable standby generators. These systems automatically restore electricity within seconds or minutes if normal supply gets disrupted. Diesel generators used to be the only option, but now advanced alternatives exist including:
- Natural gas generators
- Battery storage systems
- Microturbines, etc.
Carefully determine the best emergency power solution for your facility accounting for space, budget, noise, emissions, and scalability preferences. Also, be sure to work with trusted vendors to install equipment properly sized for your expected critical load.
Balance Costs and Risk Tolerance
Pursuing energy resilience requires weighing expenses against risk exposure. Before investing, clearly determine your tolerance for power disruption. Besides, assess the true financial, operational, and reputational impacts you could incur.
Quantifying potential losses better informs decisions about appropriate resilience strategies. The actual costs of power failure often far exceed initial expectations after factoring in all direct and indirect impacts.
While at it, it’s also important to realize that power security threats constantly evolve. As your business changes over time, reevaluate energy needs and exposure. A facility with minimal power demands today may take on much more critical loads in the future requiring extra resilience measures. Maintain this outside-in perspective to ensure your energy assurance keeps pace.
Start Small then Scale Up Strategies
Transitioning fully to on-site generation and microgrids constitutes a major capital project. But businesses need not implement comprehensive resilience solutions immediately. Taking incremental steps allows investing at a measured cadence while still rapidly reducing grid dependence.
Many businesses start simply with battery storage installations or single backup generators. As leaders gain confidence in new technologies and operational models, companies can then scale resilience efforts.
Staged implementation better aligns with typical budget cycles as well. Modular power systems allow expanding capacity over time or relocating equipment as needs shift. With careful planning, even small initial investments can help create long-term value.
Adopt a Holistic Perspective on Resilience
When evaluating and investing in energy resilience, avoid narrowly focusing on electricity. Instead, apply a systematic lens accounting for interdependencies between electricity and other critical infrastructures like natural gas, water, and telecommunications.
Ensuring energy resilience requires assessing your entire supply chain. Identify single points of failure that could leave your business stranded. Also, develop contingency plans to access alternative sources or providers as warranted to prevent catastrophic disruptions.
This way, you can uncover far more robust solutions by tackling resilience challenges holistically rather than through siloed quick fixes.
Given growing uncertainty on the grid, no business can afford complacency about energy assurance. Power failures freeze operations, damage delicate equipment, and cause lasting financial impacts. Events once considered rare are now occurring more frequently and testing organizational resilience.
Safeguard your enterprise by taking proactive control of your energy. Transition to on-site generation, backup generators and ultimately microgrids to circumvent grid volatility.
While bolstering resilience requires significant investment, avoided outage costs and new revenue opportunities will help to offset projects over the long run. So don’t hesitate to secure this fundamental operational foundation now before disaster strikes.