Bringing Resilience and Reliability Full Circle

Posted by Reports on Feb 5, 2024 9:00:00 AM

Publish Date: February 5, 2024

Dive into Advanced Energy United’s easy-to-use explainer, a guide to how advanced energy technologies can improve resilience and reliability on the distribution grid.

From hurricanes to wildfires and heat waves to cold snaps, more frequent and pervasive extreme weather is testing the resilience and reliability of America’s electric grid, impacting critical infrastructure, and imperiling lives. At the same time, rising demand for electricity, from fast growing segments of the economy and the electrification of buildings and transportation, is placing new demands upon the grid. 

While utilities and grid operators continue to employ legacy approaches to ensuring resilience and reliability – grid hardening and the build-out of new power plants, transmission, and distribution lines – these solutions can be expensive and too slow for emerging threats and accelerating demand. By contrast, advanced energy technologies – including distributed generation, energy storage, demand management, microgrids, and more – can provide resilience and reliability in a cost-effective, targeted, and nimble manner. Moreover, they can do so while providing many co-benefits, including emissions reductions, energy savings, and greater consumer satisfaction. 

In this easy-to-access explainer, we explore the advanced energy technologies providing resilience and reliability where and when they are needed on the distribution grid. To better help policymakers and regulators understand where these technologies can be deployed, and how they can build upon one another, we locate these technologies in three concentric circles: 

  • In the center is the individual home or building, where advanced energy resources can help keep the lights on when the grid goes down and help manage energy use. 
  • The middle circle zooms out to the campus or facility level, to detail the technologies that, together with those in the inner circle, make up a microgrid. 
  • The outer circle pulls back to look at the larger distribution grid, and explores how advanced energy resources across the grid, working in coordination with grid technologies and software, can be transformed into virtual power plants. 

This explainer also features real-world examples of these technologies at work, helping to keep the lights on and improve grid reliability in the face of extreme weather events and growing demand. As policymakers and regulators look to build a stronger and more flexible grid with the support of federal dollars and incentives, this explainer can serve as a guide to harnessing the resilience and reliability benefits of advanced energy technologies from end to end. 

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Topics: Federal Policy