How to Effectively Manage Blackouts
Unfortunately, blackouts are reality for modern utilities. They can happen at any time, and at any scale. The key to making it through a blackout is being prepared and having a successful strategy in place for managing the risks and troubles associated with blackouts.
Understand Where the Risks Are
For major blackouts, the first thing to manage is the risk and be proactive when it comes to preventing them. German insurance agency Allianz defines some of the causes of blackouts as increased demand for the grid, aging infrastructure, severe weather events, and other factors that may be beyond control. The important part is ensuring things that are within your control are taken care of and those that are beyond are planned for.
Also important is the fact that as everything gets more interconnected, the risk increases.
“The vulnerability of the power supply industry, the industrial and commercial companies and the public and private sector is high due to the interconnectedness and dependency of all areas on Information and Communication Technology (ICT), navigational systems and other electronic devices.”
Know There is No Perfect Solution
As Allianz points out, may utilities are turning to renewable energy to help better manage blackouts, though this isn’t always going to work out. As Allianz notes, renewable energy still has its drawbacks when it comes to managing blackouts.
“A downside of renewable energy particularly, wind and solar technologies, is the volatile supply of power,” the company writes. “Not only may a scarcity of electricity result in a power blackout, but an oversupply can also lead to grid instabilities as they alter the frequency within the network.”
So, while renewables may be part of a solution, even they have their issues.
Have a Way to Get the Word Out
An important part of any blackout is communication. For utilities, this is key. Customers need to be updated on what’s going on and any form of communication is important. In large-scale blackout scenarios, panic can set in quickly if the customer base remains uninformed. Public radio is a great way for utilities to ensure their customers know what’s going on, since public broadcasting is generally well-equipped to weather a blackout and an emergency radio is standard in many households. Also, car radios are widely available.
Hydrostor receives $4m funding for A-CAES facility in Canada
Hydrostor has received $4m funding to develop a 300-500MW Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) facility in Canada.
The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to plan construction.
The project will be modeled on Hydrostor’s commercially operating Goderich storage facility, providing up to 12 hours of energy storage.
Hydrostor’s A-CAES system supports Canada’s green economic transition by designing, building, and operating emissions-free energy storage facilities, and employing people, suppliers, and technologies from the oil and gas sector.
The Honorable Seamus O’Regan, Jr. Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Investing in clean technology will lower emissions and increase our competitiveness. This is how we get to net zero by 2050.”
A-CAES has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions by enabling the transition to a cleaner and more flexible electricity grid. Specifically, the low-impact and cost-effective technology will reduce the use of fossil fuels and will provide reliable and bankable energy storage solutions for utilities and regulators, while integrating renewable energy for sustainable growth.
Curtis VanWalleghem, Hydrostor’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are grateful for the federal government’s support of our long duration energy storage solution that is critical to enabling the clean energy transition. This made-in-Canada solution, with the support of NRCan and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, is ready to be widely deployed within Canada and globally to lower electricity rates and decarbonize the electricity sector."
The Rosamond A-CAES 500MW Project is under advanced development and targeting a 2024 launch. It is designed to turn California’s growing solar and wind resources into on-demand peak capacity while allowing for closure of fossil fuel generating stations.
Hydrostor closed US$37 million (C$49 million) in growth financing in September 2019.