Alleviating the effects of large scale events on the U.S. electric system


Becky Harrison,
CEO, GridWise
Washington DC, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — June 7, 2013 – In recent years, extreme weather events – such as the recent Superstorm Sandy – have become increasingly common, impacting the economy and disrupting power systems – so how should our sector respond?

According to a new report from the GridWise Alliance, Improving electric grid reliability and resilience, based on an industry workshop in the wake of Sandy, no individual electric utility can adequately plan for such a very large scale event (VLSE) and the necessary related infrastructure restoration efforts. Planning for, and responding to, an event of this magnitude requires coordination and collaboration at the federal, regional, state, and local levels to address the breadth and inter-related nature of these potential impacts. Policies and regulations that facilitate collective action are also vital.

Moreover, while modernization of the grid would help to reduce the impacts, smart grid technologies alone cannot adequately improve and sustain the reliability, resilience, safety, and security of the electric system during a VLSE. Rather, solutions must integrate people, technologies, and processes to maximize the effectiveness of the preparation for such response efforts.

“Disruptions to our power system from large scale events pose more than an inconvenience in today’s digital economy,” commented Becky Harrison, CEO of the GridWise Alliance. “The report identifies actions that can be taken by utilities, policy makers, emergency responders and technology suppliers to improve the resiliency of our electric power grid during future extreme events.”

The report provides five overarching principles with associated recommendations:

  1. Grid modernization technologies can prevent outages and decrease projected impacts
  2. Enhanced emergency response planning processes can result in better deployment coordination of human and other resources
  3. Information and communications technologies (ICT) infrastructures should be more resilient, reliable, and secure
  4. Systems, capabilities, and processes can be leveraged to improve communications and speed restoration of power
  5. Distributed generation technologies, such as microgrids and mobile generators, can enhance the resilience of electric infrastructure serving critical loads.