Concerns about electric grid resilience are increasing. Extended outages with severe impacts can be caused by extreme natural conditions—weather, wildfires, geomagnetic disturbances, electromagnetic pulse, and earthquakes—and by man-made disruptions—cyber and physical attacks. Combinations of threats could result in even more severe outages. Critical infrastructure interdependence could make the impacts even greater.
Current methods of improving resilience—hardening of the electric power grid, recovery plans, collaboration among utilities, implementation of recovery plans, and microgrids—all help, but have limitations. These methods are often expensive, cover only limited infrastructure and some threats, and each may provide only one method of dealing with a threat. Yet, protecting everything in every way from every threat all of the time is obviously infeasible and unaffordable.
At the same time, the electric power sector is undergoing its most profound change in over a century and society is increasingly dependent on electricity. New technologies for electric generation, energy storage, and end use are entering the market, most of them digitally-controlled. Many of these new technologies are Distributed Energy Resources (DER) owned and operated by consumers. DER bring very new business and operational dynamics to the power industry. Interdependencies with other critical infrastructure sectors are increasing. All this is disrupting electricity markets and operations, established business models, and regulatory practices. Power sector decarbonization will accelerate all these changes and the challenges they create.
A new electric grid resilience approach is clearly needed. This new approach must complement, not replace, the existing grid structure, incorporate evolving technologies and increasing consumer demands, facilitate decarbonization, support critical needs during large-scale outages, enable rapid recovery from these outages, and be affordable and equitable.
Resilient Community Grids, a patent-pending technology developed by OnGrid Options, LLC, will uniquely meet that need.
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