Portable small-scale generators could keep vital services on line during a major power outage.
William Zarakas and Frank Graves are principals and Sanem Sergici is a senior associate with The Brattle Group.
The recent severe storms in 2011, 2012, and 2013 in the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic States have demonstrated that critical infrastructure isn’t always able (nor is it typically designed) to withstand extreme events. The resulting effects also have served to sharpen the discussion about electric system reliability, storm preparation, and storm responses. Making an electric system more reliable typically means two things: a) carrying generation reserves and b) hardening transmission and distribution assets, so that they can stand up in the face of high winds and ice storms. The recent storms involved disruptions to the wires – not to the supply pool. Indeed, the delivery system is more often the cause of outages than generation.