While most organisations and businesses have turned more attention towards greater resilience since the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, one vital but potentially overlooked aspect of this is power resilience. Ensuring your site and critical equipment has a safe, reliable supply of power at all times is vital to ensuring continued productivity, profitability and safety.
Historically, the UK has enjoyed a highly reliable power infrastructure, and it can be easy to assume that this will continue. However, this is not the case, as the rollout of low carbon generation and increased demand for power impacts on our security of supply.
Fossil fuels are bad for the environment, but they are ideal in terms of providing reliable, baseload power that can be turned up or down as required to meet demand. As we transition to primarily solar and wind power, we enjoy plentiful power during good generation conditions, such as sunny, windy weather, and significant dips in generation at other times, such as overnight. Renewable generation is inherently inflexible, making the task of balancing available capacity with demand increasingly difficult.
Further, the growth of distributed generation is putting additional strain on distribution networks, as is the rapid growth of high-demand technologies such as electric heating and rapid EV charging. These combine to put significant additional pressure on distribution networks, increasing the risk of power disruption further.
This all means that bolstering power resilience should be a priority for any business or organisation. Without taking proactive measures to prevent disruption, you run the risk of power outages that could damage equipment, reduce productivity and profitability, compromise safety or shut your entire site down.
Power resilience takes two major forms. One is to condition and manage the power coming into your site, ensuring that a constant, correct voltage is provided to equipment and infrastructure. This is best achieved using voltage regulation technology, that cleans and conditions power as well as reducing overvoltage and improving efficiency.
In the case of disruption more significant than momentary spikes or dips, a reliable Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) technology is required to ensure equipment continues to operate as intended. While traditional UPS remains popular, it presents a number of issues that are increasingly impacting on the decision to commission this technology. Most notably, by nature it can significantly increase your total energy consumption, and by extension your carbon emissions.
A growing alternative is a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS), that provides the same instantaneous emergency power as a UPS while also bolstering energy efficiency, maximising on-site generation assets, offering new sources of revenue through grid services, and more.