Staying Cool in the Heat Wave



If you live on the East Coast and Midwest you know it’s that time of year again when temperatures suddenly spike and you can’t walk around the block without needing a shower.

Along with excessive sweat, this heat-wave-prone season brings added strain to the power grid, threatening brownouts and even blackouts if we don’t intelligently manage our energy use.

But last week, a record breaking heat wave hit the Midwest and then moved east to New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. And this is no normal summer heat wave. In this month alone, more than 1000 records that have been set or tied and at its peak last week, approximately 132 million people were placed under a heat alert, according to the National Weather Service.

But with some ingenuity it’s completely possible to keep the lights and A/C units on, even when energy use reaches record highs.

Take last week for example. Our team worked tirelessly to quickly respond to the surge in demand that threatened grid reliability in 15 eastern states. Working with local utilities and grid operators, we executed 54 mandatory curtailment programs that delivered more than 1,250 megawatts (MW) of reduced electricity demand. The net result, we were able to help keep the lights on (and the cold air blowing) for more than 944,000 homes and 832 commercial and industrial sites.

While the results of last week’s efforts clearly speak for themselves, the role for intelligent energy management solutions goes far beyond helping out during heat waves. I’ve talked before about how extreme weather is becoming all too familiar these days, and as this past winter showed, we were on hand to help when snow and ice storms threatened power supplies to Texas homes and businesses.

So while the weather is as unpredictable as ever, the role for intelligent energy management solutions in our nation’s energy mix is becoming clearer and clearer.

Blake Young

About Blake Young

R. Blake Young is President and CEO of Comverge and has been active in the energy industry for over 24 years in consulting and management roles.
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