Green Resiliency: The Intersection of Distributed Energy Generation and Sustainability

Dawn of new renewable energy technologies. Modern, aesthetic and efficient dark solar panel panels, a modular battery energy storage system and a wind turbine system in warm light. 3D rendering.

by | Jun 10, 2021

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Dawn of new renewable energy technologies. Modern, aesthetic and efficient dark solar panel panels, a modular battery energy storage system and a wind turbine system in warm light. 3D rendering.

The energy industry is experiencing a great transformation. As economies and organizations restore a semblance of business as usual, an opportunity sits before us. “Normal” has undoubtedly changed. There is a critical emphasis on addressing the impact of climate change, severe weather, and grid volatility—all of which have a costly impact to business and society. In rebuilding our communities, we have the opportunity to lay the groundwork for a brighter clean energy future with Green Resiliency.

Businesses are under increased pressure to address their plans to increase their energy resiliency and decrease their environmental impact. These are not mutually exclusive—current technologies can solve for both. Distributed energy resources, microgrids and renewables are becoming more and more prevalent as we move towards resiliency and carbon neutrality while the economics become even more compelling. This intersection amplifies the call to take action across commercial properties, healthcare facilities, educational institutions, housing communities, military bases and more.

Green Resiliency is the unique opportunity to increase energy resilience with reliable, renewable power. Renewable energy resources have long been recognized for their ability to harness energy from naturally replenished resources such as solar, wind, tides, geothermal and biomass. What has become clear is the benefits to organizations from pairing those renewable sources (such as solar and wind) with battery energy storage systems and microgrid controls to create a holistic solution for Green Resiliency.

Organizations’ assessment of their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) targets has magnified the need for green resiliency through reliable, renewable energy. When deciding where to invest funds and map a meaningful path towards a low carbon future, the long-term reliability of energy infrastructure is critical. A showcase example is Wells Fargo, a leading financial services company, who has exemplified green resiliency by installing renewable energy sources where their energy needs are the greatest. Utilizing on-site solar at a variety of campuses across the United States helps meet the company’s ESG environmental goals, but the strategy also delivers community benefits such as job creation, tax revenue and increased grid resiliency in locations where its customers live and work.

Intersecting with renewable resources, distributed solutions such as battery energy storage systems and microgrids further prepare organizations for potential grid outages. Traditionally, microgrids are installed at one campus, business, or facility, then integrated into local energy sources. A microgrid can enable non-interrupted operation and communication if a business’ bulk power system becomes unavailable during a natural disaster like a hurricane, wildfire or flood.

Distributed energy generation is now essential infrastructure for securing energy supply for the many industries that require reliable power, including critical operations at military base sites such as Fort Bragg, where construction on a floating solar photovoltaic system on a 66-acre lake began in the fall of 2020. The base has worked with Ameresco to pair the floating solar panels with a battery energy storage system that will be incorporated into a microgrid system on site. This innovation will not only improve energy efficiency but increase renewable assets at the military base. It will also provide the facility backup from power outages and reduce the number of equipment failures, which will allow Fort Bragg personnel to focus their attention on mission-critical activities.

While these technologies are not new, the opportunity has never been more apparent. Favorable administration policy, an increased focus on the need for resilient and reliable power, and the re-alignment of organizations across the globe with net zero targets gives rise to a perfect storm for Green Resiliency. In the past year alone, Ameresco’s customer projects and owned renewable energy assets delivered an offset of approximately 12.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. Ameresco is helping our customers reach their sustainability goals by acting nimbly and addressing the need for Green Resiliency in their operations. The time to act is now.

To learn more about how Ameresco and Wells Fargo are working together on green resiliency, check out their webinar on this topic.

Mr. Hans Meyer has over a decade of professional experience in the energy services industry. In his role as Ameresco’s Director of Renewable Development, Mr. Meyer assesses risk and facilitates structuring activities for large-scale renewable energy projects. His primary focus is on the financial and technical development, analysis, and measurement of initiatives through complex-scenario data analysis and evaluation to drive desired business results. Mr. Meyer has a strong understanding of valuation techniques, energy market analysis, operational budgeting, and financial statements.

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