Ahead of the Wildfire Technology Innovation Summit in Sacramento, Sunrun, a home solar, battery and energy services company, issued a new technical analysis describing the role that distributed energy resources, such as home solar and batteries, can play in providing reliable electricity and reducing the threat of wildfire in California and other wildfire-prone areas. A copy of the new report, “Building A More Resilient Grid,” can be found here.
“Today’s aging energy infrastructure is ill-equipped to deal with the impacts and risks of a changing climate. We need modern, bold solutions to transform the way that our electricity system works — providing power where people live and work. That means empowering people to develop local clean energy, including home solar and batteries as we transition to 100% clean energy for all,” said Anne Hoskins, CPO at Sunrun.
Sunrun‘s analysis illustrates the risks of transmitting electricity over long stretches of power lines and the potential for distributed energy to mitigate these risks while providing safe and reliable electricity.
Power lines can overheat when overloaded with energy, which can cause them to sag closer to the ground and to other objects like timber that can spark fires. Networked distributed energy resources, like home solar and batteries, in remote communities can reduce the amount of power on transmission and distribution infrastructure and lower the risk of power lines sagging and sparking wildfires.
Sunrun’s analysis considers a specific scenario demonstrating how networked home solar and battery power in a wildfire-prone community can reduce power line sag to safe levels. At the same time, this type of community microgrid can provide reliable electricity to remote communities, which are increasingly at risk of de-energization events.
“We need to consider battery storage and solar as part of a toolbox to provide customer resilience in the face of the growing threat from wildfire. The catastrophic events of the past two years are forcing us to rethink how the electricity grid is built and operated. Clean, customer-sited energy storage and generation may be a key enabler of change and hence greater safety for California communities in at-risk areas,” said Michael Wara, director of the Climate and Energy Policy Program, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.
To realize the energy vision established in “Building A More Resilient Grid,” the company is further urging California state policymakers to embrace three specific policies: eliminating the cap for developers on state storage incentives to allow for community-scale solutions to reduce wildfire risk, raising storage incentives for lower-income Californians in wildfire-prone areas, and passing the recently-introduced California Solar Bill of Rights.
“Last year’s wildfires are a wake-up call. We all need to come together to deliver solutions that will make our energy system safer for all. We can do this,” Hoskins said.
News item from Sunrun