• Thomas Enzendorfer

Florence Left Carolina Without Power Except For Solar and Wind

As CBS reported, nearly two weeks after Hurricane Florence swamped North and South Carolina, thousands of residents who get power from coal-fired utilities remained without electricity. Yet solar installations, which provide less than 5 percent of North Carolina's energy, were up and running the day after the storm, according to electricity news outlet GTM. And while half of Duke Energy's customers were without power at some point, according to CleanTechnica, the utility's solar farms sustained no damage. Also, in Puerto Rico, although Maria took out the power grid, locations that had their own solar installations, including a farm and a community center, were able to stay open.

As natural disasters are ever increasing due to climate change and since the IPCC just released a dire report, we have to consider our energy sources. The emissions our energy causes and our dependence on fossil fuels is not sustainable in the long run, as it only worsens disasters and leaves us without energy when those disasters happen. Renewable energy is from a source that is not depleted when used, such as wind or solar power. Fossil fuels are sources of energy that formed from the accumulated remains of living organisms that were buried millions of years ago. Pressure, heat and time allow the organic matter to transform into one of the three major types of fossil fuels, which are coal, oil and natural gas. Although gas is sold as ‘natural’ energy, it is misleading, because it’s still a depletable energy that releases CO2, causing climate change.

To not have wide scale power outages and to prevent disasters, we can start with micro-grids, a local energy grid with control capability, which means it can disconnect from the traditional grid and operate autonomously. Micro grids could provide power for everyone, including third world countries with no access to power. Power can provide a better quality of life, especially during or after violent storms, and possibly prevent deaths. As we have seen with the last dangerous hurricane, those with independent energy sources had their power on the next day. Investing in renewable energy is a no-brainer and something you can do as an individual or business without waiting for governments to coordinate. Energy independence is not only good for the climate, but also for society, as these natural disasters will continue.

There are many things we can do as individuals and companies to combat climate change. Companies can invest in renewable energy for their operations, use less packaging and plastic, recycling, controlling waste disposal, and if you’re a company whose main mission is making an impact on the climate, the best thing you can do is make sure your business succeeds long enough to make that impact. Investing in a long-term sustainable business operations plan is the best thing you can do before all others, so that your business accomplishes it’s main climate impact mission. As a consumer, you can do your part in recycling, having energy efficient homes and renewable energy systems, driving less, and supporting companies who have a climate impact so that they succeed on a larger scale. It requires both companies and individuals in our society to do their part in demanding and participating in a cleaner, more prepared world.


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