NEMA Joins NIST in Promoting Proactive Approach Toward Grid Resilience

According to NEMA President and CEO Evan R. Gaddis, grid resilience is a priority for the association and its members.

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) commends the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and its proactive approach toward improving grid resilience through its Community Disaster Resilience Program and series of workshops that will develop a community-scale disaster resilience framework.

According to NEMA President and CEO Evan R. Gaddis, grid resilience is a priority for the association and its members.

“We don’t have to suffer through another storm. We have the technology today to build and rebuild smart so that we can prevent or reduce damage to electrical infrastructures when bad weather erupts,” he said.

“In the aftermath of a severe storm like Sandy in 2012, residents and critical service providers couldn’t get gasoline, but it wasn’t a lack of supply. It was a lack of backup power at storage and pumping facilities,” Gaddis said. “First responders and healthcare centers could not provide adequate care, and waste treatment facilities created dangerously unsanitary conditions.”

One way to ensure continued operation of critical facilities when power interruptions occur, he said, is to employ microgrids, energy storage, and decentralized generation. Prevention includes location of critical infrastructure and using materials that are resistant to long-term submersion in water.

As a member of the NIST Smart Grid Advisory Committee, Gaddis noted that the agency has moved strategically from viewing resilience as outage management to an integrated program that incorporates off-grid solutions to mitigate logistical problems.

Gaddis credits Chris Greer, PhD,Director of NIST’s Smart Grid and Cyber-Physical Systems Program Office, with refocusing the agency’s priorities. The Disaster Resilience Program includes:

  • Disaster Resilience Workshops
  • Disaster Resilience Framework
  • Disaster Resilience Standards Panel
  • Model Resilience Guidelines
  • Disaster Resilience Center of Excellence

NIST’s next Disaster Resilience Workshop will be held July 30 at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Natural and man-made disasters cause an estimated $57B in average annual costs, with large single events resulting in losses of $100B or more. Recent events, such as the World Trade Center disaster, Hurricane Katrina, and Superstorm Sandy, have highlighted a need for current practice to consider the functionality and interdependencies of buildings and infrastructure systems and the role they play in restoring the fabric of the community following a hazard event.


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