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Grid Resiliency A Priority For Brookhaven Lab Continues

The US Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Lab has been sponsoring a series of workshops designed to continue an ongoing dialogue between utilities and research institutions regarding the resiliency of the electricity grid in the wake of increasing extreme weather events.

The latest such workshop in April brought together representatives from government, academia, utilities, vendors and industry experts to discuss the issue of protecting the grid from extreme weather events, allowing utilities to keep their promises of constant power. 

Representatives from Los Alamos National Lab, Stony Brook University, Georgia Tech, Rutgers University and New York University, Orange and Rockland Utilities (ORU), Northeast Utilities, Electrical Distribution Design (EDD), ICF International, Tennessee Valley Authority, General Microgrids, Whitney Research Services, OSIsoft and ESRI were among those who attended the two-day meeting. 

A number of issues were raised over the gathering, including a keynote address from Larisa Dobriansky, senior vice president for Legal, Regulatory and Policy Affairs for General MicroGrids and former DOE Deputy Assistant Secretary for National Energy Policy, who delivered remarks on behalf of DOE’s Dan Ton. Specifically, Dobriansky spoke about the use of microgrids as a leading strategy in combating possible outages. According to Brookhaven, Dobriansky said that DOE considers microgrids as integral to DOE’s grid modernization efforts, particularly at the distribution level.

A number of others speakers contributed to the gathering, touching on a number of strategies. Charlie Scirbona, Smart Grid department manager for ORU, and Robert Broadwater, chief technology officer for EDD, identified just who the critical customers were — such as pharmacies, gas stations, traffic lights and public transportation — while Douglas McCracken, director of Emergency Preparedness for Northeast Utilities, New England’s largest utility system, presented a case study based on the 2011 Halloween snow fall. 

A full run down of the event can be found on the Brookhaven National Lab blog, but with such dialogues continuing on behind the scenes, grid resiliency in a changing climatic world is guaranteed.

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