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Planning for the storm: Considering renewable energy for critical infrastructure resilience

Jeffrey J. Cook, PhD, Eliza Hotchkiss, MEng, Xiangkun Li, MSc, Jesse Cruce, MSc

Abstract


Objective: Benchmark the economic value of renewable energy and battery storage systems to extend operation of certain critical infrastructure facilities in different markets.

Design: This study uses the renewable energy optimization model to assess three critical facilities in North Carolina. Techno-economic results were then compared to analyses completed for critical facilities in California and New York to assess energy system cost effectiveness.

Results: Though solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays are cost-effective across each of the three North Carolina facilities, adopting battery storage to enable PV to operate with existing diesel generators in a hybrid energy system reduces the economic value of the system. This is in contrast to more economically viable systems in California and New York. All of these systems also offer unquantified resilience benefits by extending operation from hours to weeks across the facilities.

Conclusion: If decision makers were able to value the resilience benefits offered by each system or utility rate structures were changed to incentivize battery storage during normal operations, it would impact these assessments. Even so, this analysis provides decision makers a key set of cost benchmarks when considering how they might improve resilience at their critical operations.


Keywords


resilience, disaster response, energy, renewable energy, critical infrastructure, emergency management

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5055/jem.2020.0475

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