The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) recently released a report, “Enhancing the Resilience of the Nation's Electricity System,” which focused on a low-probability, high-impact outages. These types of outages span several service areas and/or states, and can last upwards of three days in duration. Such extreme loss can cost many lives and billions of dollars. Although stopping outages entirely is neither cost-effective nor realistic, the report noted that it is critical to minimize the frequency and impact of events and to recover more quickly than before. The report also clearly articulated the difference between resilience and reliability. Resilience includes lessening outages, limiting their scope and impact, quickly responding and restoring power afterwards, and learning from these events for the future.
This Congressionally-mandated report included technological options for strengthening the capabilities of the nation's power grid; a review of federal, state, industry, and academic research and development programs; and an evaluation of cyber security for energy delivery systems.
The report highlighted the work done by GMI’s Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium (GMLC), especially its foundational project on developing reliability metrics with meaningful spatial and temporal resolution. By increasing the granularity of reliability metrics, system operators will have better information regarding customer outages and the severity of the events. Other resiliency recommendations included in the report focused on emergency preparedness; technology adoption; research, development, and demonstration; public and private infrastructure investment; improving cyber monitoring and controls systems; developing a “visioning” process for plausible large-area, long-duration outages; establishing small system resilience groups; and developing a committee to provide guidance to state regulators.