We’re not climate scientists, but weather events have become a lot more severe. The air is hotter, the water is warmer. And the combination of those two things is producing weather events that are more extreme. — Aaron Jagdfeld, Generac Chief Executive Officer
We’re not climate scientists, but weather events have become a lot more severe. The air is hotter, the water is warmer. And the combination of those two things is producing weather events that are more extreme. — Aaron Jagdfeld, Generac Chief Executive Officer
Climate Change Calls for Backup Power, and One Company Cashes In
Demand for backup generators has soared over the last year, as housebound Americans focused on preparing their homes for the worst, just as a surge of extreme weather ensured many experienced it.

Hurricane Ida left over a million people in Louisiana and Mississippi without power for days in sweltering weather late last month; at least 10 deaths in New Orleans are believed to have been tied to the heat. Over the summer, officials in California warned that wildfires might once again force rolling blackouts amid record heat and the threat of wildfire. In February, a deep freeze turned deadly after widespread outages in Texas. Even lower-profile outages — last month, storms in Michigan left almost a million homes and businesses in the dark for up to several days — have many American homeowners buying mini power plants of their own.

The vast majority are made by a single company: Generac, a 62-year-old Waukesha, Wis., manufacturer that accounts for roughly 75 percent of standby home generator sales in the United States. Its dominance of the market and the growing threat posed by increasingly erratic weather have turned it into a Wall Street darling.

Generac’s stock price is up almost 800 percent since the end of 2018, and its profits have roughly doubled since June 2020. The company recently opened a new plant in Trenton, S.C. — its third producing residential generators — while demand and pandemic-related supply chain snarls have pushed customers’ wait times to roughly seven months.

Need is driving the demand. The United States suffered 383 electricity disturbances last year, according to a tally of incidents required to be reported to the Energy Department, up from 141 in 2016. As of the end of June — the most recent data available — there had been 210 this year, a 34 percent leap from the same point in 2020.

“We’re not climate scientists, but weather events have become a lot more severe,” said Aaron Jagdfeld, the chief executive of Generac, whose generators are integrated into existing fuel sources and switch on automatically once a home loses power. He ticked off a list of headline-grabbing weather events over the past year, from freezes to floods to droughts.

“The air is hotter, the water is warmer,” he said. “And the combination of those two things is producing weather events that are more extreme.”
Read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/15/business/generac-climate-change-generators.html