Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Project Technical Assistance: Resilience Planning (Text Version)

This is the text version of a video about the role of resilience planning as part of the technical assistance offered through the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Project (ETIPP).

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I’m Eliza Hotchkiss, and I'm a senior resilience analyst in the Energy Security and Resilience Center at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. NREL supports the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Project—or ETIPP, which aims to identify and advance solutions that prioritize community challenges, values, and goals, and at the heart of the project is helping communities become more resilient.

There are a lot of different definitions for resilience, and so we encourage communities to define resilience in a way that is going to enable them to realize any visions or goals they establish through a resilience planning process. To give you an example of some definitions, we at NREL define resilience as the ability to anticipate, prepare for, and adapt to changing conditions and withstand, respond to, and recover rapidly from any sort of disruptive event. We do this through holistic planning and applying technical solutions that are appropriate for the geographic location and address the root causes of the challenges that are occurring in that location.

To oversimplify resilience in communities, we talk about it in a way that really addresses three key components. The first is to understand what the community’s vision and goals are, and we typically do that through resilience planning and creating a strategic plan. This is a stakeholder-driven process that gets the viewpoints from a number of different organizations and key stakeholders within a community involved in the process.

The other component that we include in creating a strategic plan and realizing that plan is understanding which technologies are appropriate and are going to enhance resilience. And we’ll talk about some solutions and some examples later on in this video.

And then the third component that we do incorporate into our work is policies that support the implementation of different types of technologies, programs, incentives that might further resilience.

So just to give you an example, a lot of times resilience is incorporated after a disruptive event occurs when a community is rebuilding—let’s say, after a hurricane occurs. And this really is not the time for community resilience to be initiated. It’s much more effective if a community has a resilience plan in place and can work toward understanding the root causes—the biggest hazards, threats, and vulnerabilities that need to be addressed and the root causes of those if a disruptive event were to occur and what the impacts would be. So we encourage communities to be proactive, to come up with a strategic plan that incorporates resilience, that builds on other community priorities and goals and aligns those and really unites all of the competing resources or visions into that strategic plan so that it’s setting everyone up for success.

Additionally, strategic planning for resilience is really an iterative process. So it’s important to understand that conditions are constantly changing; funding pathways are becoming available over time. And as you work toward implementing solutions, your resilience posture is changing and there are other opportunities to enhance resilience in areas that were not necessarily a priority earlier on in the process.

So, these are the basic concepts around resilience planning at the community level.

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