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How to Finance Resilient Power and Reduce Risks from Power Outages

Resilient power technologies, such as solar PV with energy storage, could ensure against the devastating consequences of power outages from future disasters.

Marking the two year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, Clean Energy Group has released a paper about new financing options for the installation of resilient power projects. Resilient power technologies, such as solar PV with energy storage, could ensure against the devastating consequences of power outages from future disasters.

The paper, "Financing for Clean, Resilient Power Solutions," provides an overview of several clean energy finance strategies for low-cost, long-term financing of resilient, clean-energy technologies. In the paper, CEG explores how conventional financing options — such as bond financing, credit enhancement, and public and private ownership structures — can be applied to resilient power projects. The report identifies financing tools that can be especially helpful to low-income communities, which need resilient power the most and suffer disproportionately from severe weather events. With resilient power applications, communities can shelter in place and are better able to withstand the potential harm from loss of electricity.

In the two years since Superstorm Sandy caused massive devastation and extensive power outages on the East Coast, affecting over 8 million people, policy makers have begun to pursue "resilient power" strategies. They are advocating for the deployment of smart, clean energy technologies to keep the power on when the rest of the grid goes down. Instead of diesel generators like those which failed during Sandy, new policies have been put in place to support more resilient power technologies such as Connecticut's $40 million micro-grid program, the $40 million Massachusetts resilient power program, and New Jersey's $200 million Energy Resilience Bank. Beyond the East Coast, California begun a demonstration program for the use of microgrids to "build resilient, low-carbon facilities and communities," with an emphasis on connecting resilient power to critical facilities.

"Clean energy technologies are now essential to community resilience," said Robert Sanders , CEG senior finance director and the author of the report. "Resilient power can be the difference between life and death for our most vulnerable populations, who need access to heating and cooling, elevators, and electricity for their life support systems. Clean energy technologies can keep these systems running and keep people safe, but they won't be accessible without the financing needed to get them built and working to protect citizens of all income levels. Everyone deserves to have power protection in an emergency."

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