2021 was a tough year, but we’ve all been through challenges before, and we can collectively overcome them again. Editorial from Glenn Jakins, serial entrepreneur and CEO at Humless, a Utah energy storage company.
Staying “On” in an “Off” Year
Glenn Jakins, serial entrepreneur and CEO | Humless, a Utah Energy Storage Company
With how “off” this past year has been, is there a way to switch things “on” again?”
Wildfires in Australia, hurricanes and tropical storms in the southeast US, a global pandemic, civil unrest, a tense election, and even earthquakes in our home base in Utah—all of it is has made it difficult to stay “on” and engaged.
That turbulence and uncertainty has led to a lot of changes and sleepless nights—trying to figure out the early days of quarantine was just the beginning. Remote work was a double-edged sword, supplying us with the ability to work from anywhere, but depriving us of the meaningful connections that come from working in-person, together. On top of that, a chaotic first few months of the year saw global supply chains up in the air.
Even though 2020’s challenges were unique in both scope and duration, our mettle has been tested before, and we’ve passed those tests.
In 2013, our companies lost a large portion of our inventory to a fire, within a week of moving to our new warehouse. The insurance had not yet transferred, which left us holding the proverbial bill. It was a setback in our ability to provide our customers with a critical need—power—in both an energy sense and in how being without electricity feels, well, powerless.
But we rallied.
Instead of declaring bankruptcy, starting from scratch, and damaging both our relationships and our reputation, we asked our creditors and suppliers for longer terms on our loans to show them that we were in this for the long haul.
As we and our partners had faith in what we could achieve, others have faith in their business to meet goals and overcome challenges. It’s this type of drive that powers many businesses, but resiliency can only take us so far, as we found out firsthand in the fire.
Although we eventually came out on top, having a fallback plan in case of emergency is definitely burned into our psyche.
Collectively, we all saw that need for fallback plans in 2020. One moment in particular stands out that greatly affected our local community, and it has little to do with COVID and everything to do with power.
Just north of us in Salt Lake City, a wind storm knocked out the power to tens of thousands of residents and businesses for multiple days over the summer. Many didn’t have any sort of backup to keep things running, causing setbacks and frustration to all who felt the after-effects of nature’s wrath. One 24-hour wind storm caused nearly everything in significant portion of the city to turn off.
It’s painful to recognize how precarious our energy systems can be. Whether it is to power equipment in manufacturing or healthcare, keep the refrigerators and freezers cold for retail, or to bring the power for computers and lights in the office, the electricity needed to go about our daily lives is essential. We just seem to take for granted until it’s gone.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Whether it is commercial energy storage systems, micro-grids, or medical uninterruptible power supply systems, businesses and people can expect a resilient, powerful backup energy system that meets their needs at all times and in all places.
The strength of a power generator or a battery doesn’t have to correlate to how loud it is, either. We saw that firsthand while traveling through the national parks over a decade ago. As night fell, generators powered up—the constant hum of dozens of gas-powered generators became a significant distraction from the enjoyable sounds of hooting owls and chirping crickets.
It was then that we figured we weren’t the only ones who felt like there could be a better way.
Whether people need dependable power for the farthest reaches of the grid or the power to live off it, we wanted energy storage systems that allow for people from all walks of life to keep things “on” without distracting noises or dirty power.
Over 10 years later, and 2020 is firmly in the rearview window. But the problems those events caused aren’t going away. Utilities are being taxed with expanding energy needs. Brownouts are becoming more common in California and in other places, and the need for portable power that is capable of charging from any source is essential. But as problems are still here, we’re confident in the solutions to meet them.
Our engineering team is always looking to innovate to bring out the best of these three ideas to lead us into the future—robust energy storage and clean power that doesn’t make a peep. We take pride in the clean energy industry’s desire to push the limits on longevity and strength of their power systems. Power storage is growing in leaps and bounds as well, with the goal to pack more power into smaller places with minimal disturbances. We believe there’s no more need to wait for a long-lasting, clean energy future—we’re already there.
Coming out of a turbulent 2020, we see a bright, clean energy future up ahead, especially since we know what is backing us up and keeping things “on.”
The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AltEnergyMag
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