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3 Reasons to Consider Increasing your Energy Resiliency

Updated: Mar 3

With increased frequency of more intense and damaging weather events along with supply chain and political instability, it is understandable why energy resiliency is top of mind for many households today. Here are the 3 reasons why you may want to consider increasing your energy resiliency today.

Reason 1 - Increased Severe Weather Events

In 2021 the U.S. experienced the second most disasters in a calendar year, with the most disasters occurring in 2020. Climate change is supercharging the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather, and with aging grid infrastructure this leaves households vulnerable. For example, the average age of the installed electricity grid in the US is forty years old, with more than a quarter of the grid fifty years old or older. This information is concerning when we consider that electrical lines typically have a lifespan of about 50 years.

One of the vulnerabilities of our grid is that it has not been designed to meet the peak demand required to address the cooling loads needed during increasing number of summer heat waves. Earlier this summer, an early heatwave knocked six power plants offline in Texas which resulted in residents being asked to limit electricity use, reduce their AC consumption and avoid using large appliances at peak times to ensure power plants could meet all the electricity consumption requirements.

Reason 2 - Political and Economic Instability

While the impacts of climate change, sever weather events, and grid vulnerabilities are concerning for household energy resiliency and security, equally concerning are the impacts of the current national and international political and economic environments.

The current war between Russia and Ukraine and its impact on energy supply has highlighted the importance of domestic energy production, generation, and reserve capability. In Europe, this is a current and ongoing challenge for countries like Germany who import about 30% of their natural gas requirements from Russia. Concerning when you consider that about 50% of German households need natural gas for heating, with winter bring below freezing temperatures.

Canada has an abundance of natural resources and is considered a net exporter of energy (namely crude oil, natural gas, and electricity). However, despite having the world’s third-largest oil reserves, Canada still imports oil from foreign suppliers, primarily in Quebec, Ontario, and Eastern Canada due to a lack of infrastructure and challenges with transporting the oil and petroleum products from Western Canada. The problem is, even though Canada is a net exporter of energy, these foreign crude oil imports that occur primarily in Ontario, Quebec, and the Atlantic Provinces, comprise almost 50% of Canada’s total refinery inputs. Foreign sources include the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, Azerbaijan, Nigeria and Ivory Coast. In a political landscape that is unstable and uncertain, this can leave Canadians vulnerable to changes in foreign relations, translating to price increase and supply challenges.

Like Canada, currently the United States is also a net exporter of energy, however about 20% of domestic consumption is from foreign sources, with crude oil accounting for the largest share of U.S. total energy imports on an energy content basis.

Reason 3 - Energy and Commodity Price Increases

Energy prices have surged over the past year, with gas prices up over 50% year over year, the price per barrel of oil up 550% from 2020 lows hitting its highest price in the last decade, natural gas prices also at their highest in the past decade up 400% from 2020 lows, and electricity prices in Canada and the United States both up in 2022, although still well below the cost of electricity paid by some European countries.

In Europe, as a result of the large increases in gas and coal prices, combined with rising carbon prices, electricity prices in countries like Germany are up more than six times from a year ago. The price paid by consumers in Germany is close to 0.40 USD/kWh. Utilities in Germany are now announcing even further electricity price increase with some as much as 30% come the fall.

Global demand for energy is expected to increase both for petroleum products as well as electricity. Combine this with supply issues, aging infrastructure, increasing severe weather impacts, and global political instability, there seems to be a good probability that energy prices and disruptions to energy supply increase from here.

The good news is that there are a number of things you and your family can do to increase your energy resiliency, including backup energy storage systems, onsite energy generation, and improved passive home design. Connect with us to see how we can help you increase your energy resiliency today.

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