Governments keep pouring money into renewable green energy. Investment gurus tout its long-term benefits. But when Old Man Winter comes, will solar, wind and the like be there to keep the electricity running?
Some folks are betting against it. Like the 65% of Texas voters who just pulled the lever in favor of a multi-billion-dollar loan program to build more natural gas power plants. The Texas Energy Fund will earmark $7.2 billion in low-interest loans available for new gas-fueled utilities and $1.8 billion toward backup power.
Over the past decade, GOP and Democrat lawmakers signed off on fossil fuel reductions along the electricity supply chain. As a result, Texas residents and businesses lost power for days in some cases during heat waves and a 2021 freeze that resulted in 241 deaths.
Businesses face high grid failure risk this winter
The winter of 2023-24 could wreak havoc on companies far and wide. The grid appears to be more vulnerable than ever to high winds, ice and frigid temperatures.
The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) warns of “insufficient energy supplies to meet demand in extreme [weather]” for the eastern two-thirds of the continent. “Any prolonged, wide-area cold snaps will be challenging due to generator outages and fuel vulnerability, extreme levels of electricity demand, difficulties in accurate forecasting and the risk of firm electricity transfer curtailments.”
NERC says 18% of the national grid failed when winter storm Elliot hammered New England and several Southeastern states. Northeastern, Southeastern and Midwest states are at “elevated risk” of extended outages due to low fuel supplies, lack of weatherization measures by power plants and the complexity of load forecasting.
What can businesses do to prepare?
Generators are one way to keep a facility up and running if the power goes out. A commercial generator can run from $6,000 to $37,000 depending on a company’s size, needs and budget.
Another option is to lease a generator through a local vendor. A contract with a generator vendor should specify how quickly the vendor will deliver a generator and get power running after notification of an outage.