In times of national distress, whether due to the accelerating impacts of natural disasters or challenges to public health like COVID-19, conversations inevitably turn to how we can make our families, our communities, and our world a safer and more secure place. More and more, the topic of energy security is becoming a central part of these discussions. As we consider ways to secure a comfortable and prosperous future, providing renewable, clean energy is rightly at the forefront of our efforts.
Energy security means having “access to clean, reliable and affordable energy services for cooking, heating, lighting, communications and other productive uses.” It is the ability to maintain domestic, business, or other operations in the event of a power system outage. For homeowners, this means an uninterrupted quality of life and the ability to stay home in the event of a system outage. In other cases, such as hospitals or military installations, it means powering lifesaving equipment or keeping communities safe.
Challenges to Energy Security
Our current energy paradigm poses several problems for energy security. In addition to their contributions to climate change and natural disasters, traditional sources of energy production like fossil fuels also come with security challenges. The international supply lines needed for the extraction, processing, and delivery of these fuels can be volatile and prone to interruption. The systems in place for energy delivery, like our electric grid, are vulnerable to natural disasters or man-made interference.
Renewable energy sources like solar energy have the most to offer when it comes to ensuring our energy security. That’s why, from individual homeowners and facility managers to the U.S. Military, solar power and battery storage are the go-to solutions for increased energy security.
National Security Investments in Solar Power
As CleanTechnica noted in late 2018, “A new report from the Association of Defense Communities and Converge Strategies details how military bases are turning to renewables to guard against blackouts in the wake of floods, storms or cyber attack.” Because of increased threats to the electric grid, both from natural disasters and intentional cyberattacks, military installations across the country and world are embracing renewable energy for enhanced security.
“In many ways, the U.S. military stands at the vanguard of the transition to clean energy,” they observe. “Troops in the field have deployed solar power and batteries to reduce their reliance on oil and gas, saving money and helping to guard against attack.” Forward operating bases often use renewables to reduce the risk of transporting fuel for generators. Many bases have turned to solar, wind, and battery storage for day-to-day and backup power capabilities as well. These bases and the communities surrounding them are proving grounds for the effectiveness of solar + storage installations, community microgrids, and the ability of clean-energy initiatives to create jobs, limit pollution, and increase energy resilience.
The microgrid at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, California includes a solar array and significant battery storage, as well as diesel backup generators. In addition to saving the Marine Corps money on utility payments, the microgrid is able to provide power for the entire base for up to three weeks in the event of a blackout or cyberattack that compromises the local power grid.
Energy Security for Homes and Businesses
Energy security should be a top priority for our government, military, and other vital services like healthcare, food distribution, and communications. But securing power is important for homeowners and businesses as well.
A day or two without power can make a home uncomfortable, but when blackouts last longer than that they may require people to leave their homes under the worst of circumstances. Homeowners who invest in energy security by establishing solar + storage systems provide comfort, safety, and security in their ability to produce and consume their own power independent from their local utility company.
Commercial facilities that strengthen their energy security with investments in renewable energy maintain their ability to continue their work in the event of power loss. When these facilities provide food, medicine, or communication services, their continued operation is a contribution to the security of their communities as well. Non-vital service providers benefit greatly by avoiding significant profit losses caused by power outages.
Solar Design Studio's expert solar consultants have worked with home and business owners alike to create solar solutions that save money and increase energy security. If you’d like to learn more about your options, contact us today!