Designing resilient decentralized energy systems: The importance of modeling extreme events and long-duration power outages

Elsevier, iScience, Volume 25, 21 January 2022
Hanna R., Marqusee J.
Mitigating and adapting to climate change requires decarbonizing electricity while ensuring resilience of supply, since a warming planet will lead to greater extremes in weather and, plausibly, in power outages. Although it is well known that long-duration outages severely impact economies, such outages are usually not well characterized or modeled in grid infrastructure planning tools. Here, we bring together data and modeling techniques and show how they can be used to characterize and model long-duration outages. We illustrate how to integrate outages in planning tools for one promising mode of resilient energy supply—microgrids. Failing to treat these extremes in models can lead to microgrid designs (1) that do not realize their full value of resilience, since models do not see the benefits of protecting against extremes, and (2) that appear reliable on paper yet do not actually protect against extremes. Although utilities record power interruptions, lack of access to that data is hindering research on resilience; making datasets available publicly would substantially aid efforts to improve grid planning tools.