The aftermath of the 2021 Polar Vortex (power outages, water safety issues, and the tragic loss of life) has left Texans and many others wondering: “How did it come to this? Why did the power grid fail us?” When large systems fail, they fail big. And the failure of the energy system in Texas is just one of other recent examples of this.

THIS IS NOT JUST A TEXAS PROBLEM

In 2012, Hurricane Sandy exposed the vulnerability of the East Coast’s power grid, which led to new policies supporting the installation of solar plus battery back-up power for homes, businesses and critical public facilities. More recently, unprecedented extreme heat and winds exposed the vulnerability of California’s power grid, causing both power outages and fires that wiped out entire communities, resulting in lost lives and tremendous economic hardship. Concern about increasingly frequent climate induced power outages, as well as new Public Safety Power Shutoffs implemented by California utilities to prevent fires during high wind events, are also prompting California residents, businesses, and public agencies to invest in back up power and battery storage solutions.

The common thread running through each of these disasters is this: we can no longer put off until tomorrow what we need to do today. The infrastructure and sustainability debt that we have accrued over the past century is coming due. These disasters are the beginning of these debts coming due. We need strategies that help drive investment towards resiliency solutions that leverage clean energy technologies. Multiple strategies will be needed to address these challenges including technology development, market reform, and business model innovation.

AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE PORTFOLIO OF SOLUTIONS NEEDED

One of the strategies that is picking up momentum is the accelerated deployment and more intelligent utilization of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs). Utilities and other Load Serving Entities (LSEs), like many CCAs in California, are deploying programs to support customers in implementing distributed clean energy resiliency solutions using solar plus battery back-up power systems. For example, TerraVerde is supporting Peninsula Clean Energy, the electricity provider for San Mateo County in California, with the “Power On Peninsula Program” which offers a rebate incentive for residential customers who deploy solar plus battery systems.

DER programs have the potential to provide tremendous value to both customers and LSEs. In many cases, customers can enjoy the benefits of significant cost savings and meaningful back-up power during grid outages. LSEs can leverage these DERs to provided needed grid services and reduce their cost of service. There are many challenges in implementing such programs and LSEs are evaluating methodologies on how to overcome these obstacles. One of the primary challenges is the revenue loss implications to the LSE from distributed generation. For these programs to drive clean energy resiliency technology adoption-at-scale, LSE & customer benefits need to be aligned.

TerraVerde is proud to be partnering with LSEs in developing innovative strategies to address these challenges and unlock the incredible financial & resiliency benefits of intelligent DER programs. We look forward to sharing our learnings and insights in upcoming announcements & articles. For more information, or to discuss further, write to us at hello@terraverde.energy.

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