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The role of gap analyses in energy assurance planning

Katherine Shea, JD

Abstract


Energy-related emergencies, such as power outages or interruptions to other energy supplies, can arise from a number of factors. Common causes include severe weather events—such as snowstorms, hurricanes, or summer storms with strong winds—as well as energy infrastructure that is overburdened, aging, or in need of repair. As past experience indicates, jurisdictions will continue to experience severe weather events, as well as confront infrastructure issues that make future power outages likely. As a result, state and local governments have turned to energy assurance planning, an energy-specific form of planning that helps jurisdictions prepare for and recover from energy emergencies. Energy assurance recognizes that power loss/disruption cannot be eradicated completely, but jurisdictions can mitigate the impact of power loss through effective planning. This article discusses the role of energy assurance planning and provides a description of what energy assurance means and why developing such plans at the state and local levels is important. In addition, this article discusses the role of statutory gap analyses in energy assurance planning and discusses how a gap analysis can be used by planners to identify trends and gaps in energy assurance. To provide context, a recently conducted statutory gap analysis analyzing national emergency backup power trends is provided as a case study. A summary of this project and key findings is included. Finally, this article briefly touches on legislation as an alternative to energy assurance planning, and provides summaries of recent legislative proposals introduced in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.


Keywords


energy assurance, energy assurance plans, critical infrastructure, gap analysis, emergency power generation, backup power

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5055/jem.2013.0136

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