Prolonged power failures are a serious concern as climate change progresses and more extreme weather events occur. When the electric grid is down, having systems that give us a continued source of power, without relying on fossil fuels, is crucial. It took Puerto Rico six months to start to bring back power after the hurricanes of 2017. They didn’t have drinking water for three months. We need to be prepared for these sorts of situations.
Imagine a Vineyard where we are generating enough power from renewable sources and have enough energy storage in place to sustain such outages.
- Individual buildings have solar and batteries to provide backup power onsite.
- Micro-grids are used to cluster buildings or houses, using onsite, renewable energy generation and batteries (often coupled with a fossil fuel generator).
- Large energy storage facilities are maintained by the utility company.
Aquinnah, Chilmark, Oak Bluffs, Tisbury, and West Tisbury all have projects in the works that will make use of solar combined with a battery bank. This will ensure that these buildings can continue to function in a power failure, no matter how long it is. These batteries can also feed power back into the grid at times when our usage is highest, to help meet that increased demand.
An Edey Foundation grant supports this effort. Visit islandclimateaction.org/climate-action.