A looming “super-storm” in the North Pacific that may bring hurricane-force winds and frigid cold across western Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and much of the “Lower 48” calls to mind the massive damages, disruptions and billions of dollars in disaster response and recovery efforts brought about when Superstorm Sandy swept across Mid-Atlantic states and New England in 2012.

Some 8.5 million businesses and homes lost power as Superstorm Sandy made its way across the U.S. eastern seaboard. More than 140,000 National Grid natural gas customers felt the impact, “leading to the largest restoration effort in the history of the natural gas industry,” National Grid recounts in a recent news release.

The rising incidence of super-storms and other extreme weather events highlight the multiple, cross cutting benefits of deploying advanced energy storage systems, both for utilities and “behind-the-meter” at customer sites.

Grid-hardening and enhancing grid resiliency

Two years later, efforts to recover from Superstorm Sandy are ongoing. Furthermore, as the world’s leading climate scientists have predicted, the number and intensity of storms and other extreme weather events has been rising sharply as climate changes.

As National Grid points out, “A study by the Munich Re Group found that between 1980 and 2011, the frequency of weather-related, energy system-threatening events rose by nearly 500 percent in North America, a faster increase than anywhere in the world.”

That’s prompted National Grid management to invest heavily in fortiifyng and enhancing the resiliency of power generation and distribution infrastructure. One of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world, in the U.S. National Grid owns and operates electricity and natural gas production and distribution assets serving a customer base of over 6 million that spans the states of New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

“We know what kind of damage severe storms can do to our energy infrastructure,” King said. “We know that extreme weather is here to stay and the degree to which Sandy has propelled a national conversation around the resiliency of our 21st century energy systems,” National Grid U.S. President Tom King was quoted as saying.

National Grid plans to invest $10 billion in strengthening and enhancing the resiliency of its energy infrastructure over the next five years. “Extreme weather is on the rise and we have committed to a long-term investment strategy that will improve the reliability and resilience of our system,” King commented.

National Grid’s grid-hardening and resiliency investments include deploying new, alternative energy resources and technology that are in-line with U.S. energy market regulatory restructuring, such as New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative.

As National Grid points out, “Both initiatives are designed to help increase use of alternative energy resources and promote expanded energy efficiency, renewable energy, distributed generation, and energy storage programs.”

The multiple benefits of intelligent energy storage

Deploying smart, distributed energy storage systems, such as Green Charge Networks’ “behind-the-meter” GreenStation can go a long way toward enhancing the reliability and resiliency of energy supplies and grid assets. With advances in technology and manufacturing and innovative financing models, such as our Power Efficiency Agreement (PEA), intelligent energy storage systems such as GreenStation are cost-effective today, and help “keep a lid” on electricity costs well into the future.

GreenStation also accelerates the transition to cleaner, more environmentally sustainable energy resources. Integrated with solar power systems and electric-vehicle (EV) charging stations, GreenStation enables commercial and industrial companies, municipalities, colleges and universities to become energy self-sufficient while lowering energy costs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and environmental degradation.

On October 8, Green Charge teamed up with NRG eVgo to deploy NRG Freedom Station EV charging stations integrated with intelligent energy storage capacity across California.

GreenStation customers such as the City of Lancaster have deployed our intelligent energy storage platform as they progress toward meeting renewable energy and “net-zero” emissions goals. On October 23, 2014 the City of Lancaster and Green Charge unveiled an integrated EV fast-charging and GreenStation deployed at the Lancaster Museum of Art & History.

Making use of the integrated EV fast-charging and GreenStation solution, the city will be able to significantly reduce the demand charges California utilities charge for peak-power demand. Rising at over 7 percent per year over the past decade, demand charges can make up as much as 50 percent of utility customers’ energy bills. By installing the EV fast-charging station-intelligent energy storage solution, the City of Lancaster can cut its demand charges by up to 50 percent.