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ECONOMIC BENEFITS OF INCREASING ELECTRIC GRID RESILIENCE TO WEATHER OUTAGES

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The U.S. electric grid (“the grid”) constitutes a vital component of the nation’s critical infrastructure and serves as an essential foundation for the American way of life. The grid generates, transmits, and distributes electric power to millions of Americans in homes, schools, offices, and factories across the United States. Investment in a 21st century modernized electr The U.S. electric grid (“the grid”) constitutes a vital component of the nation’s critical infrastructure and serves as an essential foundation for the American way of life. The grid generates, transmits, and distributes electric power to millions of Americans in homes, schools, offices, and factories across the United States. Investment in a 21st century modernized electric grid has been an important focus of President Obama’s administration. A modern electric grid will be more reliable, efficient, secure, and resilient to the external and internal cause of power outages – improving service for the millions of Americans who rely on the grid for reliable power. Severe weather is the number one cause of power outages in the United States and costs the economy billions of dollars a year in lost output and wages, spoiled inventory, delayed production, inconvenience and damage to grid infrastructure. Moreover, the aging nature of the grid – much of which was constructed over a period of more than one hundred years – has made Americans more susceptible to outages caused by severe weather. Between 2003 and 2012, roughly 679 power outages, each affecting at least 50,000 customers, occurred due to weather events (U.S. Department of Energy). The number of outages caused by severe weather is expected to rise as climate change increases the frequency and intensity of hurricanes, blizzards, floods and other extreme weather events. In 2012, the United States suffered eleven billion-dollar weather disasters – the second-most for any year on record, behind only 2011. The U.S. energy sector in general, and the grid in particular, is vulnerable to the increasingly severe weather expected as the climate changes (DOE 2013).


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The U.S. electric grid (“the grid”) constitutes a vital component of the nation’s critical infrastructure and serves as an essential foundation for the American way of life. The grid generates, transmits, and distributes electric power to millions of Americans in homes, schools, offices, and factories across the United States. Investment in a 21st century modernized electr The U.S. electric grid (“the grid”) constitutes a vital component of the nation’s critical infrastructure and serves as an essential foundation for the American way of life. The grid generates, transmits, and distributes electric power to millions of Americans in homes, schools, offices, and factories across the United States. Investment in a 21st century modernized electric grid has been an important focus of President Obama’s administration. A modern electric grid will be more reliable, efficient, secure, and resilient to the external and internal cause of power outages – improving service for the millions of Americans who rely on the grid for reliable power. Severe weather is the number one cause of power outages in the United States and costs the economy billions of dollars a year in lost output and wages, spoiled inventory, delayed production, inconvenience and damage to grid infrastructure. Moreover, the aging nature of the grid – much of which was constructed over a period of more than one hundred years – has made Americans more susceptible to outages caused by severe weather. Between 2003 and 2012, roughly 679 power outages, each affecting at least 50,000 customers, occurred due to weather events (U.S. Department of Energy). The number of outages caused by severe weather is expected to rise as climate change increases the frequency and intensity of hurricanes, blizzards, floods and other extreme weather events. In 2012, the United States suffered eleven billion-dollar weather disasters – the second-most for any year on record, behind only 2011. The U.S. energy sector in general, and the grid in particular, is vulnerable to the increasingly severe weather expected as the climate changes (DOE 2013).

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