By Janine Finnell, Executive Director, Leaders in Energy On Friday, June 8th, 2018, green leaders from across the Washington Metro region will explore how to...
Archive for category: Resilience
The electrical grid is the largest tangible network created by humankind. It all started in 1880’s, when energy was produced very close to end users, usually big industrial facilities. After 150 years of development, the world created incredible infrastructure to assure electricity supply almost anywhere. Since then, electrical grids have been expanding and embracing more generation units and end-users while covering extensive areas. That pattern, once obvious and most practical, became outdated. Overloaded electrical grids are difficult to maintain, unstable and, in case of infrastructure damage, extremely time-consuming to restore.
On September 20th, 2017, when Hurricane Maria crashed into Puerto Rico, about 95% of the island lost electricity. This energy crisis demonstrated how non-resilient the current grid is. Extreme weather events crippled the entire island. It could have been significantly mitigated - if not avoided - if Puerto Rico had developed independent microgrids. Downscaling the electrical grid by creating dispersed microgrids would increase reliability and resiliency in the electricity supply.
In 2017 Leaders in Energy continued to mature in its mission to build a community of leaders and a global action network to advance clean energy and sustainable solutions for a more sustainable energy system, economy, and world.
Our membership continued to grow in the Washington DC area, with 1,500 members on our mailing list, in addition to our LinkedIn group with over 2,900 members. We have a presence in most major U.S. metropolitan areas and over 100 countries.
Under the leadership of Executive Director Janine Finnell and our Board, Team Members and Advisors, the organization has provided important forums for clean energy and sustainability in the DC area, as well as nationally and globally. Our events last year came at a time of immense change and new threats, but also new opportunities to cement the transition to a green economy.
Over a month after Category 5 Hurricane Maria swept through Puerto Rico causing catastrophic damage, much of the island is still without power. The storm knocked out power to almost all of the commonwealth. Homes, schools, hospitals, and other critical services and infrastructure were left without power. Even now, only a fifth of residents have power.
Microgrids may provide the means to reduce vulnerability—and improve resilience—in the wake of a changing climate and increasing risk of natural disasters.
Federal and local government and industry professionals discussed microgrid technologies and trends at a forum on October 19, 2017 at the Edison Electric Institute (EEI). The event was cohosted by Leaders in Energy and Resilient Virginia and sponsored by EEI, eSai LLC, and Microgrid Knowledge.
The utilization of microgrids plus battery storage is increasingly seen as the wave of the future to help ensure energy reliability and security in an age of intense weather events and cybersecurity threats.
Cyberattacks, natural disasters, including flooding, snow and ice storms, droughts, in addition to aging infrastructure, and other factors all lead to vulnerability in a system faced with increasing demand. When one part of this complex system fails, as can happen when a storm knocks down a wire or pole, other parts are affected. Enter the microgrid—a local energy distribution system that offers backup generation if the central grid fails.
Two sustainability leaders at the federal and municipal level participated in a Town Hall discussion at the 3rd Annual Energy and Sustainability Extravaganza on February 24, 2017 at The George Washington University in Washington, DC. The extravaganza featured a series of panels, including a CWEEL luncheon, discussion on sustainability at college campuses, presentations by vendors with sustainable solutions, and a networking reception. This article is the first in a series of articles recapping the highlights of this year’s extravaganza.
Building resilience in communities is an area of action in sustainability that requires broad leadership in business, policy, and planning. More strategically, resilience is an opportunity for businesses, organizations, and government to fill gaps in vulnerable areas while creating the conditions for long-term economic growth.