Energy Resilience Programs

These projects align 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 Matthew Davis.


Planning for an Affordable, Sustainable, and Resilient Grid

The NC State Energy Office (SEO) received a competitive grant award from USDOE to develop a roadmap to be used during the integrated resource planning (IRP) process to support investments that build grid resiliency while maintaining affordable and reliable power.  On this project, the SEO is partnering with UNC Charlotte’s Energy Productions and Infrastructure Center, NC Clean Energy Technology Center, and Duke Energy.  This three-year grant ends in 2022.  
The project team will perform detailed studies for three scenarios to investigate the societal impacts in NC following large-scale hurricanes including: 

  • Baseline scenario – with Duke Energy system as it was during the baseline year of 2017; 
  • Improved scenario – based on Duke’s 2017 Power Forward grid improvement plan; 
  • Advanced scenario – investigates storm impacts on the grid when updated with appropriated advanced technologies defined in collaboration with stakeholder input to include advanced protection controls, microgrids, and DERs.  

The project team will accomplish the goals by considering resiliency goals for the community at large and for specific communities such as coastal communities that have been severely impacted by major weather events.  Specific hazard models will be analyzed utilizing Duke Energy’s outage data from the previous ten years with a particular focus on 2015 through 2018.  The team will investigate the economic value and trade-offs associated with modernizing the electric grid.  Broad stakeholder engagement will be facilitated to assess the risks posed to the electricity infrastructure and how to best mitigate these risks in an affordable manner.  Finally, the roadmap will be developed as a guide for the IRP process.

For more information about Planning for an Affordable, Sustainable, and Resilient Grid, contact Star Hodge.


Carolina Alternative Fuel Infrastructure for Storm Resilience Plan  

The NC State Energy Office (SEO) is partnering with E4 Carolinas (Lead agency), Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Savannah River National Lab, NC Clean Energy Technology Center, Centralina Clean Fuels, Triangle Clean Cities, Duke Energy Piedmont Natural Gas, Advanced Energy, Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina and ONEH2.   The Carolina Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Planning for Storm Resilience project researches and analyzes storm-caused disruptions to alternative fuel infrastructure that affects petroleum and alternative fuels.  Project partners and stakeholders will develop a post-disaster emergency response plan/roadmap that will reduce the impact to infrastructure disruption, transportation, utility restoration, and recovery operations.
Recent hurricanes and other tragedies have demonstrated how alternative fuel vehicles can provide critical/reliable transportation services when conventional fuel availability is interrupted or in short supply.  The goals and objectives of the project are to:  

  • Develop and implement the Carolina Alternative Fuel Infrastructure for Storm Resilience Plan. 
  • Enhance Carolina alternative fuel vehicles fleet and fueling facility disaster preparedness. resiliency and recovery.
  • Increase alternative fuel use for emergency response fleets, utility restoration, and recovery operation services.

In 2019, E4 Carolinas received an award from the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), on behalf of the Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO), for Advanced Vehicle Technologies Research for this three-year project.  The SEO is providing matching funds and technical assistance for the development of the post-disaster emergency response plan/roadmap for this project.  

For more information about Carolina Alternative Fuel Infrastructure, contact Cynthia Moseley.