J1.4 The Sustainability Challenge — Developing More Resilient Electrical Infrastructure Systems

Tuesday, 12 January 2016: 11:45 AM
Room 255/257 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
James Belanger, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA; and V. M. Thomas

One of the greatest challenges to sustainable development is the occurrence of natural hazards such as droughts, floods, and tropical cyclones. What makes landfalling tropical cyclones so unique is they often trigger their own set of cascading coastal and inland hazards, often exacerbating existing vulnerabilities within critical infrastructure systems. In particular, the electrical infrastructure system in the U.S. has become increasingly vulnerable to high-impact, severe weather as evident by the increasing number of weather-related power outages to the bulk electric system. Landfalling hurricanes are now responsible for more than half of all weather-related power outage costs, making them a prime candidate to drive research that explores new ways to increase the resilience of the electric grid. Here, we discuss two strategies to reduce these vulnerabilities via 1) the development of improved probabilistic hazard forecasts combined with adaptive management strategies for disaster preparedness, response and recovery, and 2) an integrated, scenario-based framework of future landfalling hurricane activity to simulate energy system impacts and potential power outage sequences.
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