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Resilient Energy Platform

Developed through the USAID-NREL Partnership, the Resilient Energy Platform provides expertly curated resources, training materials, data, tools, and direct technical assistance in planning resilient, sustainable, and secure power systems.

Power lines falling over, creating a road hazard. A power service truck is parked on the road beneath them.

Severe weather can cause flooding, landslides, and other threats to power system infrastructure and affect energy resource availability. Renewable energy generation can enhance resilience due to its modular nature and lack of fuel requirements. Photo from iStock

The platform enables decision makers to assess power sector vulnerabilities, identify resilience solutions, and make informed decisions to enhance power sector resilience at all scales. Although the platform currently focuses on resources to support power sector resilience, it will expand to other energy sector resilience topics over time.

Power sector vulnerabilities—weaknesses within infrastructure, systems, or operations—are susceptible to natural, technological, and human-caused threats. Impacts from these threats include:

  • Power outages resulting from physical infrastructure damage
  • Fuel supply shortages
  • Shifts in energy demand
  • Financial and economic implications associated with such events.

These disruptions can adversely affect critical services and facilities, such as hospital services, water treatment, and communications networks, as well as key economic sectors. For this reason, it's vital to understand and plan for threats to the power system and their associated impacts.

The Resilient Energy Platform helps countries to address these vulnerabilities by providing strategic resources and direct country support to enable planning and deployment of resilient energy systems. This includes expertly curated reference material, training materials, data, tools, and direct technical assistance in planning resilient, sustainable, and secure power systems. Ultimately, these resources enable decision makers to assess power sector vulnerabilities, identify resilience solutions, and make informed decisions to enhance energy sector resilience at all scales (including local, regional and national scales).

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Planning a Resilient Power Sector

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Planificación De Un Sector Energético Resiliente

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ການວາງແຜນສງົ່ເສມີການປບັຄນືສະພາບເອາົ
ໃຫ້ອອກຂະແໜງພະລງັງານ ການຮບັປະກນັໄຟຟ້າ
ໃຫ້ມຄີວາມສະຖຽນ, ໝນັ້ຄງົ, ປອດໄພ
ແລະ ໃນລາຄາທສີ່າມາດຊໄື້ດ້

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Planning for Power Sector Resilience

Reliable, secure, and affordable electricity is essential to power economic growth and development. The power system is at risk from natural, technological, and human-caused threats, which can include everything from power interruption to chronic undersupply.

It is critical for policymakers, planners, and system operators to safeguard their systems through planning and investing to improve energy system resilience in their countries. Through holistic resilience planning, they can anticipate, prepare for, and adapt to the threats and stresses on the power system. Resilience planning identifies the threats, impacts, and vulnerabilities to the power system. It also devises strategies to mitigate them.

Power Sector Resilience Planning Guidebook

To support in-depth planning, the soon-to-be published Power Sector Resilience Planning Guidebook details a holistic process to engage stakeholders, identify vulnerabilities, and implement critical actions.

The guidebook is organized into chapters that guide readers through the resilience planning process as shown above. Each chapter focuses on a specific topic and presents the basic concepts, a brief planning guide, and activities to support planning. These resources facilitate the step-by-step power sector resilience planning process and enables readers to:

Engage Stakeholders

Include entities beyond utilities and governments to enhance decisions, provide outreach, and ensure buy-in

Gather Data

Identify necessary energy systems and resources, gaps and vulnerabilities, and impacts of system failure

Assess Threats and Vulnerabilities

Define and assess threats together with their impacts and likelihoods, as well as the associated power sector vulnerabilities and their severities

Develop Strategies

Identify and prioritize solutions to address vulnerabilities and incorporate guidance into existing power sector plans

Enact Enabling Policies

Adopt policies to realize full benefits of power system resilience strategies and coordinate their implementation

Evaluate

Learn what is effective and support periodic updates

Assessing Risks

Group photo of 10 people in front of the Electricite Du Laos reception desk

Technical Committee of the Energy Alternative Study for the Lao PDR celebrating the final workshop of the program. Photo by NREL

Risk is defined as the potential for loss, damage, or destruction of key resources or power system assets resulting from a threat. Risk is evaluated as the product of the threat likelihood and severity of potential vulnerabilities.

Analyzing risk is a key step in vulnerability assessments, which help utilities determine where and under what conditions their systems may be vulnerable to rising temperatures and sea levels, changing precipitation patterns, or more frequent and severe episodes of extreme weather. Analyzing risk is a key step also allows for the prioritization of vulnerability mitigation actions.

To support country stakeholders in assessing risks, we've developed a risk assessment guide and matrix.

Lao PDR Power Sector Vulnerability Assessment and Resilience Action Plan

USAID's Clean Power Asia program partnered with NREL to assess the power sector of the Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR) vulnerability to natural, technological, and human-caused threats, and to develop a resilience action plan to address the highest-risk vulnerabilities.

To lead and inform these activities, an advisory group was established. It is composed of representatives of the Lao Ministry of Mines and Energy, the state-owned utility (Électricité du Laos or EDL), and the generation company (Électricité du Laos-Generation).

The NREL and USAID Clean Power Asia team worked with the advisory group and employed a participatory approach to assess power sector vulnerabilities and address the highest-risk vulnerabilities through effective resilience strategies that:

  • Emphasizes the unique context of the power sector in Lao PDR
  • Relies on extensive stakeholder engagement
  • Involves detailed review of the latest scientific research to support a vulnerability assessment
  • Draws on international best practices and expert input to develop resilience strategies and implementation action plan for the Lao PDR.

More Resources

Planning a Resilient Power Sector
NREL and USAID, 2018

Planificación De Un Sector Energético Resiliente
NREL and USAID, 2018

ການວາງແຜນສງົ່ເສມີການປບັຄນືສະພາບເອາົ ໃຫ້ອອກຂະແໜງພະລງັງານ ການຮບັປະກນັໄຟຟ້າ ໃຫ້ມຄີວາມສະຖຽນ, ໝນັ້ຄງົ, ປອດໄພ ແລະ ໃນລາຄາທສີ່າມາດຊໄື້ດ້
NREL and USAID, 2019

Bridging Climate Change Resilience and Mitigation in the Electricity Sector Through Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency
NREL and USAID, 2017

Vulnerability Assessment Methodologies: A Review of the Literature
USAID, 2014

Climate Change and the Electricity Sector: Guide for Climate Change Resilience Planning
U.S. Department of Energy, 2016

Climate Change Vulnerability Mapping for Southeast Asia
Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia, 2009

Guidelines for Climate Proofing Investment in the Energy Sector
Asian Development Bank, 2013

Climate Vulnerability Assessment: An Annex to the USAID Climate-Resilient Development Framework
USAID, 2016

Distributed Generation to Support Development-Focused Climate Action
NREL and USAID, 2016