In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, our hearts go out to the people of Houston and the surrounding communities who have been so affected by this devastating storm. In addition to the loss of lives, the incredible damage caused by the storm will take a very long time to repair.
Getting vital electric service restored in the region is one of those enormous challenges. As of Monday, CNBC reported more than 280,000 customers were without electricity in the region. Because of conditions on the ground, it could take several days to restore power in much of the area slammed by Harvey.
This tragedy again underscores how important it is for the nation to deploy distributed generation and storage, both as part of both rebuilding systems damaged in severe storms like this, and as we upgrade the nation’s overall infrastructure. While distributed resources aren’t a panacea, for many people they would mean the difference between no power for days or weeks, and the ability to go home and begin the recovery process much sooner.
We have seen time and again what nature can do. It was only 12 years ago that Hurricane Katrina left 2.6 million customers in five states without power for two weeks; and some of the distribution system was still being rebuilt a year later. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy left 8.1 million homes without power in 17 states, and it took 57,000 selfless utility workers toiling around the clock to restore power to New York City alone. A grid with significant distributed resources would sharply reduce the impact of outages like those from Katrina, Sandy and Harvey on millions of people.
By Ken Munson, Sunverge CEO
Image: New York Times. Thomas B. Shea/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images