Clean fuel-cell power back-up installed at intersection at risk of wildfire blackouts in California


Western Systems has announced a partnership with El Dorado County, California, to install a first-of-its-kind backup power solution within the state. The new system uses innovative fuel cell technology from Altergy, which provides clean, long-lasting power for critical intersections.

The Altergy system has been installed along a new intersection in Placerville, California, which sits along a busy corridor that includes businesses and a brand new Sheriff’s Department facility. With California facing unpredictable wildfires and power shortages that have forced rolling blackouts, keeping this intersection operational became an immediate priority.

In addition to providing long-term backup power that can keep intersections running for days, weeks or even months, the Altergy fuel cell is certified by the California Air Resources Board as a zero-emission power generator and requires minimal resources to maintain.

“We’ve seen what happens when other intersections are dark for one, two, or even three days, and we knew this was something we wanted to avoid at this intersection,” says Darryl Brown, traffic superintendent at El Dorado County DOT. “We want to facilitate traffic and business in the event of a rolling blackout or wildfire. We also want to know that the Sheriff’s Department can quickly and safely get through the intersection.”

“As a provider of innovative traffic solutions, Western Systems is proud to work with El Dorado County and our partner, Altergy,” says Zach Hoiting, sales manager, Western Systems. “This new system is a game-changer for the industry, as it keeps traffic moving safely and efficiently during an outage for an extended period of time.”

“Fuel cell technology isn’t new, but it wasn’t reliable or affordable enough for commercial use until Altergy’s founders reinvented the process,” says Eric Strayer, VP sales and business development, Altergy. “We’ve been providing green energy backup power for almost 20 years, over a wide spread number of global deployments and across multiple sectors.”




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About Author


Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).