Protecting the Power Grid from Climate Disasters
This is a draft chapter. The final version will be available in Climate Disaster Law: Barriers and Opportunities edited by Rosemary Lyster & Robert R.M. Verchick, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., 2018, Forthcoming
18 Pages Posted: 12 Oct 2017
Date Written: October 11, 2017
The threats of extreme weather and slow onset events to electricity infrastructure have been well documented. Like so many climate-change threats, the problem of enhancing resilience in this infrastructure is less a lack of smart technology and more a lack of smart policy.
But also the relationship between generators, transmission and distribution networks, and users, which has been pretty straightforward since the days of Westinghouse and Edison, is rapidly changing. It now seems that the way to make the power grid more resilient in cases of extreme events — particularly the kinds aggravated by climate change — is to pay more attention to its durability and flexibility. Localized technologies like rooftop-solar generation now allow users to also act as generators in distributed energy systems. Digital systems embedded in transmission networks can now control how much power commercial users request at certain times or how much power generators will produce, giving the network some characteristics of the user and the generator. We divide that work into three categories: hardening the grid, smartening the grid, and greening the grid, and point to the law and policy innovations which are needed.
Note: The material cannot be used for any other purpose without further permission of the publisher, and is for private use only.
Keywords: electricity infrastructure, extreme weather and slow onset events, hardening, smartening and greening the grid, resilience, renewable energy, battery storage, smart grids
JEL Classification: K10, K30, K32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation