Analyzing Energy Infrastructure Exposure to Storm Surge and Sea-Level Rise

Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response

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The Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER) is tasked with assessing risk from all hazards to the nation’s energy infrastructure. As part of our commitment to understand the risks from climate change and extreme events and help improve the resilience of the nation’s electric grid, CESER undertook a study to explore and assess the impacts of sea level rise and storm surge on energy infrastructure. The goal of the study was to develop a method to identify energy facilities exposed to sea level rise (SLR) through 2100 that is flexible and scalable, uses existing and robust data sources, accounts for global and local sea level changes, storm surge, and can incorporate results from regional studies.

Initially, the focus was on four major metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs): New York City, Houston, Miami, and Los Angeles. Since then, Boston, Philadelphia, and Norfolk have also been analyzed. These areas were chosen because of their proximity to the coast, past exposure to significant storm events, and geographic dispersion along the coastlines likely to be affected by SLR and/or storm surge. The approach used in the study can be applied to any coastal region or coastal MSA. To further communicate the findings from its work on the effects of sea level rise and storm surge on energy infrastructure for the seven MSAs, CESER has used an innovative visualization tool to create an online, interactive experience. Click here or on the image at the top of this page to access the tool. 

Additional Risk-Related Work

CESER is also leading a State Energy Risk Assessment Initiative to help States better understand risks to their energy infrastructure so they can be better prepared to make informed decisions about their investments, resilience and hardening strategies, and asset management. The Initiative is a collaborative effort with the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO), the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), and the National Governors Association (NGA). As part of this Initiative, CESER has developed a series of State and Regional Energy Risk Profiles that examine the relative magnitude of risks at a regional and State level highlighting energy infrastructure trends and impacts. View the profiles.