Economic Benefits of Increasing Electric Grid Resilience to Weather Outages

In a new report released by the Executive Office of the President,"Economic Benefits of Increasing Electric Grid Resilience to Weather Outages," the importance of modernizing the nation's electric grid is examined. The report, which builds off of President Obama's 2011 strategy, "A Policy Framework for the 21st Century Grid," argues that the electronic grid needs to be made more efficient, reliable, and resilient during severe weather in order to save the United States huge economic loss.

According to the report, weather-related power outages cost the United States anywhere from $18 billion to $33 billion annually, but costs can be much higher depending on the severity of weather patterns in a given year. These economic losses take various forms, including "lost output and wages, spoiled inventory, delayed production, inconvenience and damage to the electric grid."

Additionally, the U.S. government is increasingly concerned with grid resilience in the face of widespread climate change. The report describes how "greenhouse gas emissions are elevating air and water temperatures around the world [and] scientific research predicts more severe hurricanes, winter storms, heat waves," etc. Without modernization of the nation's electric grid, the United States could suffer increased economic loss due to increased incidences of severe weather.  

To modernize the grid, the report outlines 6 main priorities:

  1. Manage Risk
  2. Consider Cost-Effective Strengthening
  3. Increase System Flexibility and Robustness
  4. Increase Visualization and Situational Awareness
  5. Deploy Advanced Control Capabilities
  6. Availability of Critical Components and Software Systems

In addition to the economic benefits, "a multi-dimensional strategy will prepare the United States for climate change and the increasing incidence of severe weather. Developing a smarter, more resilient electric grid is one step that can be taken now to ensure the welfare of the millions of current and future Americans who depend on the grid for reliable power."

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Article formerly posted at https://www.hsdl.org/blog/newpost/view/s_4841