Building a More Energy-Resilient Future Series #3

Energy Resilience Through Impact

Heila EDGE platform installed in a Tampa Bay residential microgrid

In the previous entry in this series, we discussed energy resilience through expertise, and in this entry, we highlight energy resiliency through impact.

As an increasing number of natural disasters destroy homes, property, and infrastructure, the country can no longer ignore the fact that the traditional electricity grid isn’t up to the challenge. While an icon of innovation at one time, the current grid can no longer endure year after year of damage and repairs. Hurricane Ian, for example, left millions of Floridians without power, and the state called on more than 30,000 workers from at least 23 states to help restore power to its citizens.

 

This current scenario isn’t sustainable. And that is the word to focus on—sustainable. While many people limit their association of “sustainable energy” to only an alternative fuel that lowers carbon emissions and is overall good for the planet (which it is), there is another aspect of this term to consider. Sustainable energy also means that our energy source should help sustain our time on this planet, keeping us in balance with its natural progressions. Still, it should also be able to maintain the harsh environmental factors, such as wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc.

 

One of the critical factors for sustainability involves strengthening energy resilience through impact. And in such times, sustainability might help inspire people to work toward more resilient energy sources.

 

This awareness of the need to improve our decarbonization efforts and energy resiliency is not new but has long taken a back seat. And this slow progression toward sustainable energy can be attributed to the transition being out of reach for many communities, either because of cost or limited access to the proper technology. After all, it doesn’t take a single PV module to change the game; it takes networks of distributed energy resources (DERs).

 

Heila has found a way to balance DERs, enabling them to work together optimally and efficiently by customizing an entire DER system to provide flexibility, resiliency, and scalability. Heila accomplished this by establishing a harmonious balance between software and hardware tools to smartly manage energy distribution with the Heila EDGE microgrid control platform.

 

Deploying Energy Resilience Through Impact

The Heila EDGE solution continues to make an impact on energy resilience, most recently during Hurricane Ian. Throughout this extreme weather event, a newly commissioned front-of-meter residential microgrid just south of Tampa Bay, Florida, maintained power for the neighborhood it services despite the local utility experiencing significant outages, causing nearby communities to lose power. This BlockEnergy microgrid platform uses the Heila EDGE control solution for optimized performance and greater resiliency.

 

Heila EDGE prepared the system by ensuring it had enough energy to weather the storm. Before the hurricane touched down, the system entered into “storm mode” to pre-charge the battery and pre-test the generators to check that they were running. Then, when the storm hit, the system used the battery as much as possible and only brought the generators online if it needed to keep a larger charge.

 

This preparation meant the microgrid’s external communications and services didn’t go down. But even if they had, the system could continue to operate autonomously using the site’s local network and could still deliver power for the equipment to keep running.

 

The microgrid provided uninterrupted electricity for the homeowners. Even homeowners who needed to evacuate could still have the peace of mind of knowing their appliances and devices were running, their food wouldn’t spoil, and their home’s sump pump would be ready in case of flooding. They could check their security alarms and cameras to see if their property and belongings were still safe. 

 

The power is also a resource for the community, for instance, if someone needs to charge an electric vehicle to evacuate or their phone to communicate with a loved one. In extreme cases, emergency rescue teams and first responders could use the powered neighborhood as a staging ground. 

 

Putting Practice Above Profit

True resilience goes beyond a single vendor or technology, so we focus on bridging solutions instead of limiting our efforts by developing a single product. We thought bigger because we wanted to make a meaningful difference, and only through the ingenuity of partnerships can this difference be achieved. For this reason, we built our platform to be vendor, technology, and architecture-agnostic. And in doing so, we found a partner who agreed with our approach and offered to help us connect even more bridges.

 

Heila recently partnered with Kohler to share the mission of building a more resilient future. While Heila already enabled energy resiliency, Kohler enables this solution at scale. And through this partnership, Heila can expand on its work by bringing the Heila EDGE to new markets to continue impacting and strengthening energy resiliency.

 

What’s Good Should Also Work Well

Energy systems should meet people’s needs and do right by the planet. Resiliency should make an impact, and thanks to Heila EDGE, it does. Sustainability no longer has to be inaccessible, nor do extreme weather events have to disrupt our energy sources.

 

Want to learn more about how Heila Technologies and the EDGE microgrid controls platform help strengthen energy resilience through impact? Reach out to us today.