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Disaster Resiliency and Recovery Example Project: New Jersey and New York

Image of a pile of debris in front of a house with one wall missing.

Houses in New York and New Jersey were severely damaged during Hurricane Sandy.

On Oct. 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy, the largest Atlantic hurricane on record, made landfall along the coast of New Jersey. With wind spans up to 1,100 miles, the devastation affected 24 states with the most severe damage concentrated in New Jersey and New York. The total damage topped an estimated $71 billion for the two states alone.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funded NREL to provide on-the-ground technical assistance in New Jersey and New York and participate in disaster recovery strategic planning efforts between federal, state, and local agencies. From February to April 2013, four NREL staff members identified opportunities for incorporating energy efficiency, sustainability, and renewable energy measures into Hurricane Sandy's recovery efforts.

NREL participated in community meetings to educate residents on how to rebuild sustainably using clean energy and energy efficiency strategies. NREL also identified and coordinated the development of disaster recovery partnerships with regional, state, and local energy stakeholders, such as the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, New Jersey Governor's Office for Rebuilding and Recovery, New Jersey Office for Emergency Management, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Repower America, Sustainable Jersey, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

NREL provided a set of opportunities to the U.S. Department of Energy and then to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force. In August 2013, the Task Force released a rebuilding strategy to serve as a model for communities across the nation facing natural disasters and to continue helping the Sandy-affected region rebuild.

The Rebuilding Strategy contains 69 policy recommendations to prioritize all large-scale infrastructure projects, ensure all projects are built to withstand the impacts of climate change, identify how to strengthen energy infrastructure to minimize power outages and fuel shortages, and ensure cellular phone service would continue in the event of future storms.

For more information, see Alternative Energy Generation Opportunities in Critical Infrastructure New Jersey.

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