This activity assesses the preparedness of the utility systems and infrastructure against natural disasters and its contingency plans. It refers to the capacity of the energy systems to cope with the hazardous and external shocks and maintain its essential function.
There is a pressing need for the LAC region to increase the resiliency of the energy infrastructure to reduce the impact of natural and man-made disasters, and climate change. In addition, electric power systems are increasingly stressed by exploding growth and urbanization across the LAC region. In general, many of the risks utilities will face in the coming years will be associated with risks arising from climate change that will impact electricity generation, transmission, and distribution systems.
Climate change will cause the intensification of natural phenomena (hurricane, wind and storm surge; flooding; drought; extreme temperatures), but it will also cause average temperatures above the historical of each region. In both cases, companies must act to make adaptations in their processes and engineering, since the challenges to be faced will be greater and more frequent.
For utilities, some consequences are direct and in several places in the world can already be observed, such as:
* Deterioration of electrical assets, leading to reduced reliability and increased maintenance cost
* Damage to coastal power infrastructure caused by rising sea levels
* Damage and destabilization of power infrastructure due to storms and flooding
* Increased energy demand for cooling purposes due to global warming
* Increased energy demand for agriculture due to energy intensive methods
* Increased incidents of power outages due to damage from high-impact storms and flooding
* Energy efficiency losses of power plants due to high temperatures
* Reduced energy production due to warmer cooling water
As defined by IEA (International Energy Agency) “Resilience of the energy sector refers to the capacity of the energy system or its components to cope with a hazardous event or trend, responding in ways that maintain their essential function, identity and structure while also maintaining the capacity for adaptation, learning and transformation”. Also, according to the IEA, the adaptation in the context of the energy sector is characterized by the following components:
* Robustness: the ability of an energy system to withstand extreme weather events as well as gradual changes (e.g., sea level rise) and continue operating
* Resourcefulness: the ability to effectively manage operations during extreme weather events.
* Recovery: the ability to restore operations to desired performance levels following a disruption.
For the electricity distribution sector, in general, the analyses are related to reliability, such as SAIDI and SAIFI values, but these indicators are not able to adequately measure the sector's resilience in more critical emergencies. However, it is important to highlight the differences between the sector's approach to reliability and resilience, which in a recent DOE (U.S. Department of Energy) publication was defined in the table below.
This activity of resilience and emergency planning in the utilities is currently under development and will be incorporated soon.