This is National Preparedness Month, when we as a Nation take time to create plans to stay safe for any disaster that could potentially affect our communities. This year’s theme is “Don't Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.” During this week’s Power Outage Week, please take time to plan and practice your response so that you know what to do to be safe if the power goes out.
Nuclear reactions of the sun create light and heat and, from time to time, the sun ejects a mass of charged particles racing through space called a Coronal Mass Ejection (also known as a solar flare). When that mass reaches the earth, it reacts with the earth’s magnetic field, sending charged particles swirling around the planet. Some of the results are spectacular, including the Northern Lights.
It is my pleasure to announce that Meghan Conklin has joined the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the National Electricity Delivery Division. Meghan has extensive experience in energy, environmental, and natural resources policy and government affairs from her work in Federal government and on Capitol Hill.
The $178-million Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project, which received $89 million in Recovery Act funding through the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, covered five states and involved 11 utilities, two universities, and many technology providers. The broad range of technologies deployed included advanced metering infrastructure; voltage control; fault detection, isolation and restoration systems; peak load reduction; energy storage battery systems; and microgrids. The project also implemented one of the world’s first transactive coordination systems – a strategy in which both supply and demand communicate and negotiate the cost and quantity of electrical energy that will be supplied and consumed. The project’s ultimate goal was to improve reliability, optimize energy management, and achieve energy efficiency.
On August 10, 2015, OE announced up to $2.5 million in funding to help four communities that have suffered a Presidentially Declared Major Disaster over the past 30 years better prepare for the future effects of a changing climate. This investment, funded through the Resilient Electricity Delivery Infrastructure Funding Opportunity Announcement, will allow communities in California, Colorado, Florida, and New York to deploy smart grid tools and technologies that can help prevent power outages, reduce storm impacts, and restore service faster.
Michael Pesin has joined the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability as Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Power Systems Engineering Research and Development Division. Michael has 30 years of experience in the electric utility industry, much of it directing development and execution of advanced technology programs. His most recent assignment was with Seattle City Light (SCL) where he developed the technology strategy, managed research and development projects and directed strategic programs to management demonstration projects.
OE issued a Request for Information (RFI), asking for comments on the possible establishment of a reserve of large power transformers that would support the nation’s bulk power system. Large power transformers (LPTs), which are a critical component of the power grid, are a concern because transformer failures can interrupt electricity service to a large number of customers and replacing one quickly could be difficult. Today’s RFI responds to the recommendation in the Energy Department’s Quadrennial Energy Review to evaluate a national initiative to mitigate the risks associated with the loss of transformers.
The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability’s (OE) mapping of public outage information was one of three projects featured during the first-ever mapathon hosted by the White House. This data set will allow disaster-impacted residents, tourists, first responders, and relief volunteers to easily connect to their local electricity provider to get information about the scope and estimated restoration time of the outage. During the mapathon, attendees started to build a data set of online outage map URLs, main website URLs, 1-800 numbers, Twitter feeds, and Facebook pages of the nation’s approximately 3,000 utilities, munis, and electric co-ops. The data will be available via an open application programming interface (API) that will make it easier for organizations such as the Red Cross to tap into it with their own applications to get the best information on power outage information sources.
Hurricane season in the Atlantic begins today and will last through November 30. As the lead Federal agency responsible for coordinating the response to major energy disruptions, the Department of Energy works closely with other Federal agencies, State, local and tribal governments, and our partners in the private sector to prepare for all types of disasters – including hurricanes and other severe weather.