caleb williams
Caleb Williams, Data Analytics Manager, Enchanted Rock

Two years after Winter Storm Uri crippled Texas’ electrical grid at a cost of more than 200 lives and $100 billion in damages, hundreds of thousands of residents and businesses in Texas once again found themselves without power in the middle of February 2023’s frigid temperatures. Though extremely costly and disruptive, these recent outages reignited conversations about Texas’ emergency preparedness and response protocols and brought back into the spotlight the importance of resiliency-as-a-service backup power solutions.
Maintaining a steady electricity supply is a fundamental necessity. It ensures our data centers are maintaining our ability to access the web. It allows our water treatment plants to keep our drinking water clean. And it ensures our hospitals are fully equipped to save lives. Unfortunately, the growing prevalence of extreme weather events, combined with aging grid infrastructure, is challenging utilities’ ability to deliver on this across the United States.

When communities lose power in the winter — and heating and water along with it — having access to a nearby backup energy supply can be a lifesaver. Luckily, many Texans were able to find reprieve from the recent storms, thanks to their Enchanted Rock generators that kept the lights on, heat flowing, and supplies secure in the face of disruption.

Across 17 sites equipped with Enchanted Rock’s gensets, from local grocery stores to commercial facilities and hotels, a total of 40 grid outages occurred. While their cumulative outage duration totaled 127.1 hours, Enchanted Rock’s backup generators prevented all but a single minute from going unpowered. This not only protected facilities from substantial costs, but also enabled them to play an integral role in offering occupants a safe, warm, and dry space to wait out the storm — something people won’t soon forget.

In fact, during Winter Storm Uri, many Texans turned to the only building in their community that maintained power for shelter – the local H-E-B grocery store. Because H-E-B was equipped with Enchanted Rock’s microgrid services, they were able to continue their operations, providing food, water, and other essential services for their neighbors in need. This was also the case for H-E-B during Hurricane Harvey, and other key Texas businesses such as Buc-ee’s were able to offer similar support for their communities as well.

These winter storms and the outages they cause unfortunately aren’t going away anytime soon. The U.S. grid is simply too centralized, outdated, and frail to withstand the increasingly adverse weather conditions now seen across the country — a reality made painfully evident year after year. And while steps are being taken to boost grid resiliency, this is an uphill battle that requires immediate solutions in addition to those for the long term. Additionally, outages are being experienced through causes beyond weather, including human error, bad actors, and accidents.

One silver lining to these frequent outages is that we’re learning from each event how to better respond to the next one. GraniteEcosystem™ — Enchanted Rock’s proprietary management software – utilizes machine learning to take these various conditions that cause outages, and better anticipate their arrival to take the necessary precautions. With over a decade of data to build off of, our innovative Microgrid Network Operation Center (mNOC) and its operators are able to recognize and address irregularities efficiently and effectively.

Enchanted Rock’s microgrid solutions provide industry-leading reliability and have proven indispensable in times of emergency, both for its customers and nearby families. In addition to hedging against expensive grid outages, our backup generators are transforming businesses into local institutions known for helping out in a pinch. And you can be sure that these community members will remember who had their back in their time of need.