With today’s aging electric infrastructure, data centers, airports, critical care centers, and the like are investing a considerable amount of time, effort, and money into the selection of their backup data and power systems to protect critical information. It is not uncommon for companies to invest $100,000 or more on a robust generator. Yet, given the increasing number of power outages and decreasing reliability of our power systems, many companies still minimize the importance of a key component in their gen-set system — the battery. Some regard the battery as an opportunity to save money and shop for the most economical model, perhaps even purchasing a consumer model from a local retail store. However, these consumer models are not designed for the rigors of commercial applications, which can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of the mission critical generation system and the efficiency and longevity of the battery. This article discusses the risk of outages today, the need for a robust gen-set system and how the right battery can help improve reliability.
Power outages are a significant problem. A 2012 Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study, titled, “An Examination of Temporal Trends in Electricity Reliability Based on Reports from U.S. Electric,” analyzed 10 years of electricity reliability information collected from 155 U.S. electric utilities (accounting for roughly 50% of total U.S. electricity sales). The study reported “reliability is getting worse, on average, over the [past] 10 years,” a finding that is especially true among smaller utility firms. While there has been some improvement in the last four years, “this reversal is not large enough to offset the overall trend for the entire 10 years.”1