The country must develop more resilient energy systems that can withstand damaging power outages from increasingly extreme weather events. We need to work on adaptive ways to promote and finance more local, distributed, clean and resilient power sources in communities as a bulwark against severe climate disruptions.

Clean Energy Group (CEG) believes that states and municipalities have an auspicious opportunity to make local power systems and critical facilities significantly more resilient and better able to withstand the impacts of catastrophic natural disasters. In the wake of Superstorm Sandy and other extreme weather events across the country, many public officials want to act now to mitigate damage from future storms or other major disruptions to the grid. 

States and localities are already investing in local, clean power generation and are also looking for ways to reduce the vulnerabilities from the grid.  But they want to do more. The task that remains is to harness these individual interests and channel them into smarter, coordinated, more aggressive investment in resilient power at the regional and national levels. A focused project on clean energy resilient power is needed now. 

Creating more and cleaner resilient power systems will require creative financing tools and new business models. They are needed to promote more economically sound uses for distributed generation that remain responsive during storms, to protect citizens and communities from experiencing long periods of time without power.

CEG’s Resilient Power Project helps states and localities learn from each other while gaining knowledge about new financing options. Through the project, CEG helps states develop new partnerships, supports new public funding tools, connects public officials with private industry, and works with state and local officials to support greater investment in power resiliency.

Project facets:

  • Working Network of Multi-State Energy Policy Officials. This dynamic working group shares information, educates participants on opportunities, and maintains a learning network on policies, programs, and finance strategies to create more resilient power systems.
  • Engaging States and Cities. Recurring and increasingly severe weather-related power outages have forced cities to address their vulnerabilities. At the same time, these cities need to link more with states that historically have had authority to address electricity issues and to better understand the opportunities provided by state programs and policies. We will work to expand the education of city officials in this area, develop more power resilient policies and programs, and link those efforts to state energy policies.
  • Technical Assistance for Resilient Power Projects. Information-sharing and program development support are needed to quickly implement specific projects that involve resilient and sustainable power technologies. We work with state and local officials, policy makers, project developers, and financial institutions to get more deals done.
  • Specific Solutions for Program and Public Finance Support. The network activity will focus on the many specific issues that states face in this area, including:
    • How to craft public incentives that encourage or mandate more resilient power systems in state law;
    • How to create new public finance programs to pay for new systems, like combined heat and power or solar systems with backup storage; and
    • How to develop projects that will survive the next disaster. In particular, states and localities need to understand and integrate their programs with federal funding, such as Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) or possible post-Sandy bonds, as well as other existing finance tools like Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECB).
  • Long-Term Financial Outcome: Our goal is to significantly increase public financial support for clean, resilient power systems in the next few years.

For more information, please contact Todd Olinsky-Paul: todd@cleanegroup.org.

Clean Energy for Resilient Communities

CEG's February 2014 report shows how Baltimore and other cities could use clean energy to create a more reliable electric system that protects vulnerable citizens during power blackouts.

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