Why Communities Should be Prioritizing Energy Resilience

    With extreme weather events on the rise, one small town in Florida showed the world the benefits of being a resilient and sustainable community

    Nikki Mehta, Director of Energy and Sustainability, Honeywell Building Technologies

    Creating a city resilient to extreme weather or unplanned events is no longer a long-range goal, it’s an urgent need. An increase in extreme weather events around the world tests the infrastructure that supplies communities and buildings with critical necessities like electricity, running water, access to emergency services, and even basic communications.

    Across the United States alone, approximately 83% of reported major power outages between 2000 and 2021 can be attributed to weather-related events, while the annual number of weather-related power outages increased by nearly 80% from 2011 to 2021, in comparison to the decade prior[i] .

    After the devastating effects of Hurricane Ian, a small community in Florida stood out as a testament to the importance of city resilience. The Category 4 hurricane mangled parts of Florida, but Babcock Ranch – just 12 miles from a badly battered Fort Myers – didn’t lose power, its homes weren’t flooded, and it reported no major damage. Why? Preparedness and proper infrastructure.

    What can we learn from this community?

    With more than 700,000 solar panels in place and battery storage capabilities (for when the sun isn’t shining) the community can power through severe weather conditions and continue providing power to its 2,000-plus homes in a sustainable manner. Its neighborhoods were designed to minimize the risk of flooding, and its power and phone lines are buried below ground to prevent disruptions caused by severe weather.

    Babcock Ranch is now the face of energy resilience and how to create infrastructure with the environment in mind. It’s a model of forward thinking and careful planning that communities and individual buildings need to adopt.

    While many governments and companies have set goals to achieve carbon neutrality in the coming decades, they’re often not talking about their plan to also create energy resilience. We need buildings and communities that are not only using less energy but are also proactively managing and optimizing energy use to be prepared for unplanned events.

    In the future, cities and businesses will all be able to generate their electricity from carbon free energy sources, including solar, wind, or hydrogen power that will be placed near the source, the buildings and communities that use it, and everywhere in between.

    Beyond being prepared to withstand an increase in severe weather, energy resilience can help cities and buildings:

    1.     Be more energy conscious and create clean energy – Solar and wind energy paired with battery storage help make power from renewable sources dependable and available on demand. Wind turbines do not generate power when the weather is calm. Solar cells produce lots of carbon free electricity during the day when the sun is high, but unless those kilowatts are stored in a battery or other system, there is no way to use them when it’s dark. Battery storage enables cities or buildings to dynamically use clean energy based on grid availability and cost.

    2.     Reduce carbon emissions and help with energy costs – Many businesses are augmenting diesel and natural gas generators with battery energy storage systems (BESS) near their facilities to reduce their carbon footprints and provide backup emergency power sources.

    According to a recent report by Bloomberg news, the cost of power is at a 41-year high[ii]. A BESS can help reduce the cost of electricity bills by drawing on clean self-produced energy during peak demand, when energy is more expensive to use. The ROI can be further improved with help from the Inflation Reduction Act, which provides up to a 30% investment tax credit for qualifying renewable and storage soluion.

    3.     Make the grid more resilient – Investing in energy resiliency with an on-site microgrid, including solar PV, energy storage, and diesel/natural generation can help relieve congestion on generating plants and our aging grid infrastructure. Renewable energy, electric vehicles, and energy efficient buildings place complex demands on grids that were not built for so many resources. Using a microgrid with energy storage can balance grid loads and extend the lives of the existing infrastructure while upgrades are implemented to support a better distribution of energy.

    Creating an energy resilient city should no longer be just a thought. It’s now an urgent need. To learn more about energy resilience and how to make your community or building ready for the unexpected, talk to one of our experts today.


    [i] Climate Central “Surging Weather-Related Power Outages” Sept. 13, 2022, [Accessed Oct. 5, 2022]

    [ii] Bloomberg, US Power Prices Rise Most in 41 Years as Inflation Endures, Naureen S Malik, September 13, 2022 [Accessed Oct. 5]

    [iii] Bloomberg, How Energy Storage Systems Will Help Us Live in the Future, [Accessed Oct. 3]