Disaster Tech

Dr. Jason Shafer

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Engineering Extreme Weather Hazard Risk to the Power Grid: A Thought Leadership Piece

Feb 15, 2024 3:54:30 PM / by Dr. Jason Shafer posted in Weather


Extreme weather causes the majority of power outages with economic impacts that range from $50B to $100B a year over the United States. The power grid is particularly vulnerable as approximately 80% of the electric distribution system is overhead or above ground. Power outages may occur when extreme weather hazards (e.g., high wind) stress infrastructure beyond rated design, or failures from conflicts related to vegetation (trees) within right of ways. Danger trees, those outside of the right of ways, that are large enough to fall into lines are particularly high consequence. We continue to lag on upgrading our power grid to be resilient with aging infrastructure and climate-extreme weather change in the face of our reliance on electrification for decarbonization. Having a robust asset-based risk framework that incorporates extreme weather stressors will improve resilience for more informed storm-based preparedness and long-term planning use cases.

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