Wednesday 12 February 2014

In October 2012 the US was battered by Hurricane Sandy which affected 24 states, led to serious flooding in New York and New Jersey, caused an estimated $65 billion economic impact, the cancellation of 5,000 flights, 286 deaths and over 8 million people experiencing power cuts – some of which lasted many days.  One important impact of Sandy was that it turned out to be a tipping point in terms of getting energy system resilience on the US political and utility regulator agenda.  Much investment in the US is now focused on hardening the infrastructure, improving its resistance to floods, smart grid systems, energy storage and distributed energy systems – all with the aim of improving resilience.

 

The strong storms in the UK over Christmas and subsequent large scale flooding have highlighted the same issue here – an ageing energy infrastructure is vulnerable to extreme weather events which are predicted to occur more often.  With the public and political reaction to the floods and resulting power cuts adding to the general high level of  noise about energy at the moment it is time to ensure improved resilience is on the policy agenda and built into investment programmes.  We should not forget that as well as grid technologies improving end-use efficiency can also contribute to improving resilience as well as reducing investment requirements in distribution systems.  Low energy houses stay warmer longer and use of low energy lighting and appliances will make local storage technologies easier and cheaper.

 

We have talked before about the multiple benefits of energy efficiency, improved resilience has to be on the list and we need to use improved efficiency, smart technologies, distributed energy and storage to improve energy system resilience.

 

Definition: Resilience – the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.

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Dr Steven Fawkes

Welcome to my blog on energy efficiency and energy efficiency financing. The first question people ask is why my blog is called 'only eleven percent' - the answer is here. I look forward to engaging with you!

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