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Energy Planning Partnership Gets Funding

Photo: Duke Energy

A $300,000 competitive award from the U.S. Department of Energy has been awarded to the state for the two-year “Planning an Affordable, Resilient, and Sustainable Grid in North Carolina” project, the state Department of Environmental Quality announced Thursday.

The project partners include NCDEQ, University of North Carolina Charlotte’s Energy Production Infrastructure Center, or EPIC, and the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center, or NCCETC, at North Carolina State University. There will be an opportunity in the future for stakeholder engagement, as well.

“We are partnering on a project that will examine storm-related impacts and the costs and benefits of investments in grid resiliency as recommended in the NC Clean Energy Plan,” said Sushma Masemore, state energy director, in a news release.

“The cost to society after a major weather-related disaster can be far greater than the cost required to invest in resilience, but unfortunately, there are not good methods or metrics to evaluate these investments” said EPIC Associate Director Robert Cox in a statement.

EPIC will analyze outage data provided by Duke Energy following recent major weather-related disasters that have impacted the state and look at possible impacts of Duke Energy’s proposed grid-hardening measures.

The two-year project will include opportunities for stakeholders to review the work developed by the research team and to provide input into an advanced grid scenario that concentrates on enabling a more decentralized resilient grid, including micro and mini grids that can support critical services, such as hospitals, in the case of power outages, according to the release.

“The NCCETC will lead an initial stakeholder meeting in mid-2020 to seek input into and comment on the technical and economic analysis on the improved and advanced scenarios,” said Anne Tazewell, NCCETC special project program manager.  Sign up to be receive stakeholder meeting information.

A second meeting will allow stakeholders to consider a third scenario that will include the technical, policy and economic analysis conducted, while also taking into account future affordability, reliability, and resilience. A road map that combines the techno-economic analysis and stakeholder input will be developed to help inform future utility resilience related processes.

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Staff Report

The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.