top of page

Mitigating Risk from Grid Outages with Energy Efficiency Technologies

Prolonged electrical grid outages can have disastrous effects on industry. Perhaps the most common concerns are the resulting financial losses from lost production and defective products. However, damage to, or loss of, key manufacturing equipment could be even more financially debilitating, forcing a company into bankruptcy. Specifically, this is a serious concern for the many industries dependent on high-temperature processes which require constant cooling. Cooling fluid is typically distributed by motor-powered pumps, which are susceptible to electrical grid outages. Thus, without adequate cooling key equipment can be damaged beyond repair. For example, during the 2003 blackout, one Ohio manufacturer lost a blast furnace which was melted down from lack of cooling. Partially as a result, the manufacturer filed for bankruptcy.

This paper will primarily discuss energy-efficient cooling water distribution as a keystone of mitigating risk from grid outages for industry. Case studies will show how implementation of energy efficiency technologies can dramatically reduce emergency-power requirements of crucial cooling equipment. Additionally, a news archive collection of industrial equipment failures from the 2003 blackout will be reviewed, with special attention given to why equipment failed (when this information is available in the news source) and how energy-efficiency technologies could have lowered emergency-power requirements.

The importance of reducing emergency-power requirements during grid outages should not be understated. The result can be that emergency generators of adequate size are more easily obtained and/or that emergency fuel supplies are sufficient for significantly more time. Therefore, the financial benefit of mitigating risks from grid outages is a strong co-benefit to implementing certain energy efficiency measures.

Mitigating Risk from Grid Outages with Energy Efficiency Technologies

Seryak, J. Proceedings of the 2009 ACEEE Summer Study on Industry, July, 2009, Niagara Falls, NY.


28 - Mitigating Risk from Grid Outages
Download PDF • 260KB

John Seryak, PE

John Seryak, PE

bottom of page