The intensity of extreme weather events this year are shattering all records. Heatwaves in the Pacific Northwest, deep freeze in Texas, Hurricane Ida, devastating wildfires, and historic drought are all putting unprecedented strain on the electrical grid.
While hardening our grid infrastructure to withstand new extreme weather is essential, we also need to look at additional ways to adapt. One way is through more localized generation and distribution of renewable energy to enhance grid reliability and resiliency. Microgrids add a level of resiliency to the grid by continuing to operate during a main grid outage.
Distributed Energy Resources (DER) and microgrids can supply electricity on a small scale to local communities during a disaster. With DER, electricity is generated by consumers through rooftop solar or wind power. They can use what they need and sell excess back to the grid. They can store energy in batteries to ensure power is available when solar is not available. Electric vehicles (EV) can also store excess energy in their car batteries which can be used in an emergency.
While there are technological challenges for utilities to integrate renewable energy from DERs, as more DERs become part of the grid, utilities are observing improved consumer-level resiliency, lower system losses and reduced demand charges.
Learn more about the converging impacts of disasters, electric vehicles (EVs), and distributed energy resources (DERs) on the grid in Preparing for the Unexpected and the Inevitable: An Itron Resourcefulness Report