Yesterday the Department of Energy released a detailed analysis of current vulnerabilities in the US grid and opportunities for alleviating weaknesses. The report states that problems caused recently by hurricane Sandy, as well as record high temperatures, famine, and wildfires will not be going away any time soon.
The Report highlights three major trends relevant to the energy sector: increasing air and water temperatures, decreasing water availability, and increasing intensity and frequency of storm events, flooding, and sea level rising.
Those in the distribution segment have seen the effects of extreme weather firsthand. Hurricane Sandy was estimated to cost over $450 million to restore power. Millions are spent every year restoring power following tragic wildfires that claimed towns and neighborhoods in Colorado and California. Aged equipment is not holding up to the effects of extreme weather in any part of the country.
Building a less vulnerable grid involves efforts at every level of production, transmission, and distribution. On the distribution end, the report states a few clear opportunities for hardening and safeguarding: