We Need Resilient Energy Systems (Text Version)

This is the text version of the video We Need Resilient Energy Systems.

This video outlines why power outages are escalating in the U.S. and how NREL works with communities to prevent power disruptions, restore electricity, and rebuild from disasters.

[Music plays, narrator speaks]

Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and severe. In fact, every single state in the U.S. has been impacted by a billion-dollar natural disaster. The last few years have broken records, leaving millions of customers without power, water, and heating or cooling.

But it’s not just weather events that we need to be concerned about. The physical grid is aging and overdue for an upgrade. Most of our existing transmission and distribution lines were built in the 1960s, meaning the energy infrastructure of our country is at the end of its 50-year intended lifespan.

Society currently uses the grid in a different way as consumers generate power on site and connect wireless devices to home control systems.

[Woman with headphones speaks to laptop. Man stands on roof with solar panels. Woman looks at temperature on smartphone and adjusts home thermostat.]

Our aging networks lack critical cybersecurity protection needed to operate a modern grid.

[Person looks at multiple computer screens showing computer code and diagrams.]

We don’t drive the same cars or use the same phones as we did in the 60s, and we shouldn’t be relying on the same dated technology for our booming electricity needs. Outages are more than an inconvenience; they present a serious risk to community safety, economic stability, and national security.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, or NREL, has emerged as a pioneer in designing resilient energy systems. For the last 15 years, NREL has worked with communities to prevent power disruptions from happening, quickly restore electricity if an outage does occur, and rebuild from disasters.

[Two people look at a projector screen showing power grid activity. Two people collaborate between a standing desk and a server rack. Projector screen shows activity of an enterprise network.]

Following a devastating tornado in Greensburg, Kansas, NREL worked with the community to rebuild sustainable homes and businesses and incorporate a new wind farm that powers every home with 100% renewable energy.

NREL also partners with federal agencies like the U.S. Air Force, the National Parks Service, as well as tribal nations, and international governments to assess existing infrastructure.

NREL’s researchers analyze risks and vulnerabilities to create a plan for a more resilient future.

Staff explore how renewable resources like rooftop solar and battery storage can provide a more reliable and cost-effective safety net than diesel generators during a long disruption. NREL helps address technical questions related to reducing dependence on fossil fuels and ensuring energy resilience for residences, businesses, and the nation.

Inside the lab, engineers simulate threats, responses, and validate new technologies that will help grid-operators and other stakeholders beat the blackouts. They can visualize the impact of the changing climate and the increasing sophistication of cyberattackers to enhance the grid of the future.

[Person adjusts computer code. Two people use computers to interact with grid simulation on projector screen. Person wearing virtual reality goggles uses handheld device to manipulate wind flow simulation on projector screen.]

To learn more about NREL’s resilience work, please visit our website: nrel.gov/security-resilience.

[Narration ends, music stops]