Energy Generation Goal 3: Reduce disruption to the energy supply
EG-3.1: Implement grid flexibility and smart grid strategies
In order to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, we also must transform our grid. A vast network for electricity production, transmission, storage and distribution, the grid is currently built to support constant, centralized sources of electricity like coal.
Renewable energy sources like wind and solar create electricity intermittently throughout the day, depending on the amount of wind or sun available; the grid is not structured to support such variable, decentralized sources.
Utilities and local governments must determine how the grid can match rapidly changing electricity supply and consumer demand both affordably and without disruptions.
Interconnected power systems, monitoring technology, demand-response technology and advanced metering infrastructure are just a few of the solutions that can help bridge gaps in renewably sourced energy.
Policymakers and utilities should work to discover the best mix of grid flexibility measures for our region’s resources and demand.
A resilient and efficient grid would help underserved populations avoid the worst impacts of energy insecurity, reduce outages and enable transition to renewable energy.
Scale and storage
EG-3.2: Utility-scale and distributed energy storage
The traditional function of utilities has been to meet demand for power in real-time, leading to potential inefficiencies and occasional disruptions in energy supply. Energy storage would not only help during outages, but is also essential to supporting the transition to variable renewable energy sources like wind and solar.
On especially windy or sunny days, peaks in energy production generate a surplus of energy that can be stored and used later, bridging the gaps where at times there may be less wind or sun, or helping utilities meet demand during peak hours. Grid-scale battery storage projects like solar plus storage allow utilities to charge and discharge battery power to meet demand.
For distributed energy solutions like residential, commercial or community solar, onsite distributed energy storage can enable consumers to rely on renewables, while also avoiding peak demand charges.
Robust battery storage would aid in utility-scale clean energy transition, allowing for more widespread access to renewable energy. In addition, energy storage solutions would reduce or eliminate disruptions in energy supply that would impact underserved and at-risk populations. Distributed energy storage solutions are still cost-prohibitive and incentives could increase affordability and decrease prices.
EG-3.3: Increase power outage resilience
More climate-induced extreme weather will require measures to minimize power outages. Loss of electricity is not just inconvenient—it can be life-threatening for many at-risk populations. The Kansas City region is particularly vulnerable to extreme storms and flooding, with trees compromising powerlines. Buried at-risk powerlines can help minimize outages related to severe weather and advanced monitoring/metering technology can help utilities rapidly identify impacted areas to reduce disruptions.
People with lower incomes, as well as those with disabilities and older adults, are most impacted by power outages. In addition, individuals with specific health risks may experience life-threatening danger from outages. Backup power is not affordable for many low- and middle-income residents.