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Creating Energy Resiliency Amid an Unreliable Power Grid

September 29, 2021

What is Energy Resilience?

Resilient energy is energy which can operate independently or adapt under the weight of external forces. For a business like a winery or a home, it means the ability stay open and keep the lights on during a natural disaster, power surge, rogue wind, or even a raging fire.

Power outages in California have become a massive issue in the past couple of years, most notably due to the growing number of wildfires. As a result, California, and especially Napa Valley, are leading the push for resilient energy.

Why California Needs to Become Energy Resilient

Let’s face it, the state’s power grid is deteriorating. Wildfires have destroyed a great deal of infrastructure, power lines are aging, and public utilities can’t keep up with the increased energy demand caused by climate change. Hotter summers mean more people want to run their cooling systems. California even found itself issuing a series of rolling blackouts, for the first time in two decades, during the heatwave of 2020. California’s grid may soon be unfit to produce the state-wide power that is demanded of it.

If that ends up being the case, one of the most promising solutions may be on your roof.

Solar panels aren’t new, but what we have learned to do with them might be. Solar panels and other renewable energy sources, when matched with an energy storage system, make what is known as a microgrid. A microgrid is a smaller energy grid capable of making you or your business less dependent on the main power grid.

Independent, decentralized power across California is an important approach to maintaining energy supply during grid disruptions. Six out of ten of our nation’s largest wildfires in recorded history have occurred in California. Climate scientists predict that these trends will continue. Taking personal responsibility for energy generation and storage is becoming a necessity. And many people in hard-hit Napa County are doing just that.

Napa Valley Becomes Energy Resilient One Vineyard at a Time

Napa Valley is famous for its tourist-driven economy. People travel near and far to taste local wine. A disruption in the production or storage of wine can cause massive inventory losses. As a result, wineries across the county are opting out of the unreliable utility grid and converting to microgrid power, enabling vintners to continue operations during power outages.

Adopting a microgrid can also help wineries decrease energy costs while reducing their carbon footprint. Businesses that integrate renewable power sources into their systems may have an excess of energy production that they can then sell back to the grid.

Environmentally Friendly Communities

Napa County is becoming a testament to environmentally friendly living. For example, its annual music festival, BottleRock, is striving to become one of the most sustainable festivals in the country. They compost and have eliminated single use plastic. The event attracts music and wine lovers, as well as sponsors who are environmentally conscious.

For the first time this year, renewable energy company CleanSpark promoted the power of renewables and demonstrated features of its microgrid technologies. Given climate change and rising temperatures, the festival was hot. Luckily for attendees, CleanSpark offered a cool-down tent with air-conditioning to keep festival-goers refreshed while they ran from stage to stage. CleanSpark also promoted the benefits of energy storage by providing phone battery charging stations throughout the festival to help keep people connected.  

An infectious spirit and interest in clean energy keeps Napa Valley residents and people across the globe connected. Napa makes an ideal case study for others looking for inspiration on how to use clean energy and take the jump into a more sustainable lifestyle. It is a leader in sustainable living. However, what the county has accomplished is just the beginning and the community anticipates more renewable energy wins in the years to come.