Building Better Power Resilience
While the previous figures are averages, the cost of an individual outage could be much higher for businesses in particularly energy-sensitive industries, such as manufacturing. For high-value or high-speed manufacturing sites, combined costs including lost productivity, wasted product and damaged equipment can quickly see costs spiral. One American study put the cost of unplanned outages in manufacturing at up to $260,000 an hour.
Many industries particularly sensitive to power outages already have power resilience measures in place, most commonly in the form of UPS batteries. Often, these are supplemented by diesel generators to provide power in the case that a power disruption lasts more than a few minutes. While this is effective in terms of keeping key equipment operating or allowing time to safely shut down, they both come with notable drawbacks.
In the case of UPS, they generally only provide emergency power to key equipment. This means that the rest of your site infrastructure remains vulnerable to disruption. As digitisation means that equipment and infrastructure are increasingly interlinked, your site could still suffer severe disruption even if critical equipment is provided with emergency power.
For both UPS and backup generators, both technologies are likely to deliver a net increase in your overall carbon footprint. While this may be less of a pressing concern than the need for resilience, it is still pertinent for a wide range of businesses. This includes manufacturing and industry that are bound by Climate Change Agreements to make quantifiable steps towards net-zero, as well as a growing number of organisations that require clear sustainability efforts to maintain relations with customers, partners and other stakeholders.
A BESS system can provide the instantaneous emergency power of a UPS, while also protecting your entire site from disruption. Implemented as part of a smart microgrid alongside on-site generation and power regulation technology, a BESS can also allow your site to operate in island mode, independently from the grid, indefinitely, rather than relying on fossil fuel generators.