Babcock Ranch, “America’s First Solar-Powered Town”, is a prime example of how solar energy and energy storage can strengthen the reliability of power grids, making communities more resilient in the face of extreme weather and volatile energy prices.
The town, which derives its power from 700,000 solar panels at a nearby solar farm, managed to avoid power outages in the wake of Hurricane Ian, which knocked out power for more than 2.6 million Florida customers.
“We have proof of the case now because [the hurricane] came right over us,” Nancy Chorpenning, a 68-year-old Babcock Ranch resident, told CNN. “We have water, electricity, internet — and we may be the only people in Southwest Florida who are that fortunate.”
Babcock Ranch is proof that, while America’s transmission infrastructure is tremendously overaged, boosting local power supplies with renewable generation and energy storage is one way to ensure energy security.