California's Uncertain Energy Future

by Anna Gretz
October 24, 2019

It's been a rough month for California's energy grid.

California utility company PG&E instigated a five-day blackout that affected somewhere around 2 million customers... and they were predictably livid about it. The utility argued that outages were fully necessary due to wildfire risks. But is there another way to avoid fires than leaving millions in the dark? Moving forward, how can the California grid avoid future widespread power outages?

PG&E's initial response highlighted the vulnerabilities of the power grid.

CEO Bill Johnson gave a statement to the public outlining all of the work that needs to happen to lessen the risk of wildfires due to utility equipment. Trees need to be trimmed, electrical poles need hardening, power lines need to be shielded, and some electrical lines will even be placed underground. But all of this is going to take a lot of time. So what are we going to do in the mean time? Johnson says the planned outages will have to continue for the next decade.

That didn't go over well.

People were not happy that widespread outages were going to become the new normal. But PG&E said that outages would become shorter and less common as time went on. The utility also said that they'll be able to limit the "scope and duration of fire-prevention outages" due to an investment into grid sectionalization gear. This will help them predict where, exactly, outages are most necessary.

To avoid future blackouts, some Californians are turning to home batteries.

PG&E customers are ready to take their power into their own hands. With solar panels and energy storage, households can build their own energy fortress. This means: no unexpected outages. As long as there's sun, solar + storage can keep the lights on. The solar panels soak up the free, clean energy from the sun, and convert it into electricity a home battery can store.

The best part about it is, it's more affordable than you might think.

What does energy security look like? Well, according to Swell Energy, it’s both effective, and affordable for everyone. We call it Energy Shield.

There’s not anything like Energy Shield on the market so far. We wanted to create a product that anyone could afford, but that provided enough power to meet all of your home’s energy demands in the case the grid goes down.

Energy Shield is a solar + storage system that equips you with the power you need, and with it, the security you’re looking for. The solar part of the system generates power from the sun, and the storage component does exactly what you think it does: stores the power so you have it whenever you need it.

Energy Shield will:

  • Protect your home against total long-term grid failure. You no longer have to worry about an attack on the power grid. Even if the grid isn’t protected, you are.

  • Future-proof your household against rising energy costs. The energy industry is really unstable right now, and the cost of energy has been rising consistently. A home battery creates a buffer between you and the energy industry.

  • Give you independence from the weak power grid. Instead of relying totally on an aging, unreliable utility grid, take your power into your own hands.

  • Save you money. Forever. When you generate your own power with solar panels, you are tapping into a completely free power source: the sun. You can also save money by storing electricity straight from the grid when it’s cheapest, and use it when rates get high (in the evening).

The weaknesses of the power grid are, we think, completely inexcusable.

If you’re ready to equip your home with the energy security you need, it’s time to stop talking about wildfires, and start talking about Energy Shield.

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