Is Harvey the Perfect Energy Storm? - Efficient Power SolutionsEfficient Power Solutions

Is Harvey the Perfect Energy Storm?

Is Harvey the Perfect Energy Storm?
Although not the only major weather related incident in recent days, and certainly not the one with the greatest human impact, Hurricane Harvey, nature’s own Energy Storm, will definitely be felt economically, not only in the Lone Star state, but also across the Western Hemisphere. There’s an expectation that fuel prices, in the short term at least, will rise in the UK as a result. For petrol, up to 5p per litre more at the pump is being predicted for this week. Most diesel comes from Russia, so won’t be similarly affected. It’s symptomatic of the UK’s fractured supply network, seemingly unrelated events can have a wide impact.

What’s the bigger picture?

The US lost some 25% of oil production capacity in the wake of the storms. Despite the images of widespread flooding, things are already coming back on line. Production was only suspended due to lower than anticipated levels of infrastructure damage. Power and transport links are already being restored. However, some 50 tankers bound for European shores have been rerouted westwards in order to plug the gap and US consumers will bear the costs of this exercise. Although a temporary price shock, it shows that unforeseen occurrences can affect our economy and consequences are far-reaching. Imagine a failure of the Russian gas supply, alongside an arctic blast, with sustained high pressure or heavy snowfall. Not only would short term costs rise, we might find that our power stations are rationed for fuel at a time when daylight is scarce and winds aren’t blowing.


 Those of us old enough to remember the scourge of the three-day week in the 1970s will recall that factories changed shift patterns and football was played on midweek afternoons. Whilst a forcibly shortened week is highly unlikely today, a scenario where there is restricted power is not out of the question. Could your business afford to shut off a production line, or turn off the freezers? How might you prevent that happening? How many organisations have reactions to power shortages as part of their contingency planning? A standard UPS might keep servers running for an hour. Unless you’ve got a megawatt of power in the car park though, those machines won’t keep producing. If you’re in a Just-in-Time supply network, the consequences could be financially crippling.

Are you shockproof?

Increasingly, this is in the hands of the end user. It’s now possible to be electrically self-reliant for all but the largest sites. One Cornwall leisure site uses PV, wind and biomass, hosting up to 6000 visitors at any one time. Other sites choose to do so for a couple of hours to avoid high charges, this option is increasingly popular. Combining with Demand Response is becoming standard practice and can achieve good returns. To coin a phrase, ‘Winter is Coming’, don’t let another Energy Storm catch you out, speak to us now and plan ahead.

For unbiased advice on any of these topics, contact Dave or Kevin at Efficient Power Solutions on 01909 569016.