DOE seeks information on grid infrastructure weather resilience

The Department of Energy on July 9 issued a request for information related to the resilience of electric infrastructure against severe weather events.

In the electric infrastructure RFI, DOE notes that concern among government agencies, utilities, and the public about the risks presented by more frequent and more severe weather events has led to widespread discussion about how to make electric infrastructure systems more resilient against such hazards, and how to do so effectively and at reasonable cost. “This is challenging to do, however, given the many uncertainties and variables associated with weather-related events,” DOE said.

The purpose of the RFI is to gather available information on current consensus-based codes, specifications, standards, and other forms of guidance for improving the resilience of electric infrastructure systems against severe weather events, with respect to both the design and operation of these systems.

The information of interest ranges from specific technical design standards or requirements for physical system components, relevant corporate business practices, and analytic methods and tools for estimating the possible economic benefits from strategies, investments, or initiatives to enhance power system resilience.

“DOE anticipates using this information to catalogue and synthesize a body of existing expert knowledge about how best to enhance the weather- related resilience of the grid, cost-effectively. Accordingly, it is important for respondents to supplement specific standards, requirements, or practices with the rationale(s) relied upon in developing them and justifying their use,” the DOE said.

DOE noted that some existing standards developed by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) have weather-related resilience implications and benefits, but the notice indicates that DOE is not looking for detailed discussion of relevant NERC and IEEE standards.

These standards are generally well-documented, and DOE suggests that respondents cite them where appropriate by reference only, it said.

The RFI also seeks information about state- or locally-adopted codes and standards that have resilience implications, or for less well- documented requirements or practices.

The DOE on July 9 also issued a parallel RFI that seeks information for oil and gas pipeline weather-related resilience.

Comments in response to the RFIs are due by Aug. 23, 2019.