Energy Resilience Programs

This project aligns with one or more Clean Energy Plan recommendations, including:  

  • Recommendation E, Strengthen the resilience and flexibility of the grid 

Mapping Energy Resilience

Hurricanes — and the widespread power outages that follow — are incredibly costly and disruptive to North Carolina’s residents and businesses. While some relief is available through disaster funding, often the disruptions are not easily quantifiable in monetary terms and are disproportionately felt by marginalized communities and neighborhoods. In addition, consequences on such communities are not adequately accounted for in resilience metrics. With limited resources available to invest in the power system’s reliability and resilience, and with the realization that this problem is increasing due to a changing climate, the State Energy Office (SEO) wishes to better support disadvantaged communities that are at the highest risk from storm-induced power outages so that they can direct limited resources effectively and equitably. 

The NC SEO is partnering with UNC Asheville’s National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC)+ FernLeaf Interactive to assess community vulnerabilities to and potential impacts from storm-related power outages with a particular focus on identifying disproportionate impacts to households with low- to moderate-incomes, communities of color, medically electricity-dependent populations, and other overburdened or under-resourced groups.  

This analysis will help inform ongoing efforts in New Hanover County to identify and communicate needs for energy resilience solutions and secure funding to implement them. Ultimately, this pilot project will provide a new systematic method of identifying significant areas that could see a variety of disproportionate impacts to socially vulnerable communities and hence should be prioritized for resilience investments. This methodology will be replicable across the state as other communities seek to enhance their grid and community resilience to storm-related power-outages.  

For more information about NC SEO - NEMAC partnership, contact Danielle Costantini.