Capstone Turbine Corporation (NASDAQ:CPST) said Thursday that one of its microturbines recently helped provide some comfort to residents of a Ontario neighborhood who had to evacuate their homes after a gas leak.
A lightning strike in the early hours of August 18 ruptured a natural gas pipeline, which forced the evacuation of approximately 60 households in a residential community of Tillsonburg, Ontario.
As a result, many of the affected residents were relocated into the Tillsonburg Community Centre which is powered by a Capstone microturbine combined heat and power system installed by Vergent Power Solutions Inc, Capstone’s exclusive distributor for the Upper Midwest, New England and Eastern Canada.
The company said the Capstone turbine kept the facility’s electricity and hot water functioning despite the widespread power outage in the local area.
READ: Capstone Turbine distributor signs long-term service contracts in shale regions of the Appalachian Basin
“We are very proud that a Capstone CHP facility was the so-called port in the storm for so many residents of Tillsonburg,” said CEO Darren Jamison in a statement.
“Utility power outages are becoming more commonplace as evidenced by recent wide-scale blackouts in New York and London and are becoming very commonplace in Capstone’s home state of California as we lead the country in power outages,” he added.
The company noted that, according to the Eaton Blackout Tracker, in 2017 there were 438 separate outage events due to weather, falling trees, faulty equipment, human error, and others causes which resulted in more than 25,000 minutes or 17 days of outages across California.
The number of outages has been steadily increasing for the past decade and look to only continue as Pacific Gas & Electric instituted its first Public Safety Power Shutoff program by cutting power to approximately 22,700 customers in two events across five California counties, as wind speeds were forecast to accelerate, Capstone pointed out.
“The shutoffs are designed as a proactive measure in times when there is a high risk of sparking a wildfire but can be very disruptive to utility customers and local business,” Jamison said.
Nationwide, there were more than 3,500 power outages in 2017, triggered by a surge in tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, floods, and other weather events.
Microturbines provide 'resiliency solutions'
According to the US Energy Information Administration, the duration of utility outages doubled between 2016 and 2017, again as a result of an increase in extreme weather events. The total cost to the American economy for the 2017 blackouts was estimated $150 billion.
“Today customers are not only looking to save money on energy costs and reduce carbon emissions with Capstone’s microturbine products, but resiliency solutions like the one at the Tillsonburg Community Centre are increasingly gaining momentum,” said Jim Crouse, Capstone's executive vice president of sales and marketing.
“The reliability of Capstone clean energy products, in some of the most remote and harsh environments in the world, makes Capstone a preferred solution for providing resiliency,” he added.
Capstone, based in Van Nuys, California, offers a product line-up of microturbines that can produce anywhere from 30 kilowatts to 10 megawatts of power, operating on a variety of gaseous or liquid fuels. To date, Capstone has shipped over 9,000 units to 73 countries.
Contact the author: [email protected]
Follow him on Twitter @PatrickMGraham