Energy Blackouts: How to Make Your Building More Resilient to Power Outages

Posted by Chris Marsland on 20-May-2014 05:00:00

Concerns over power outages and energy prices mean energy security has become a worry for many businesses. Here are a few ways to protect your business.

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Britain’s energy industry regulator OFGEM has warned that the country faces an increasing risk of power cuts by 2015 due to declines in the amount of spare generating capacity caused by a series of power station closures. The recent spate of bad weather which left many homes and businesses stranded without power for many days before being reconnected has only added to energy security concerns.

As prospects for such power cuts increase, companies are adopting contingency planning to avoid power outages. However, regardless of whether they are long or short-lived, electrical outages can pose a danger to data, electronic equipment and vital business processes and functions for organisations.

Computing equipment requires a steady and stable stream of electrical power in order to function without damage. Where this equipment is needed for business processes, it’s important that you think about how to protect it in the case of a power outage. In order to ensure that your data is not lost and that your core business functions remain intact, you should:

  1. Produce an inventory of all electronic equipment that should be protected.
  2. Identify which equipment needs uninterrupted power and how long it needs to be operational.
  3. Determine the power demand of keeping this equipment operational for the desired time.

The case for CHP to avoid power outages

CHP plants enable businesses to enjoy increased energy security to ensure functions and systems are maintained when there are potential power disruptions caused by market demands and natural disasters. A CHP unit can be set up to operate in ‘island mode’ (isolated from the grid) when the mains supply fails, providing a major improvement to the security of electricity supply.

In addition, combined heat and power provides a sizeable number of financial, operational and environmental advantages over traditional solutions when it comes to outage protection: CHP systems can reduce electricity costs by approximately one third. As for environmental benefits, use of CHP plants can help firms with carbon legislation compliance, aid reductions in CO2 emissions and lower SOx emissions with the use of natural gas as a fuel. In addition, CHP can help in carbon legislation compliance and in meeting the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRCEES) targets.

Your checklist

  • Consider what technology needs to run off-grid in the event of a power outage.
  • Calculate how long it would need to run for and how much power it would require.
  • Consider your options for backup power - there may be a case for CHP installation.

Find out more about the savings you could make with CHP. Get your free eGuide now: How to cut costs and meet CO2 targets

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Topics: Power Outage, Energy Management

Chris Marsland

Chris has worked in the CHP industry since 1998, before that he spent 12 years heading up the Product Development Team in an industrial process control company. He is a Chartered Engineer and a member of The IET. His role at ENER-G covers CHP New Product Design, Development and Production as well as supervising ENER-G’s R&D team.