Because of the wide array of threats faced by modern energy systems, power sector resilience is increasingly important. It is critical for policymakers, planners, and system operators to safeguard their power systems from these threats by proactively planning for future needs and investing in resilient power systems. Through proper planning, policymakers can ensure the provision of reliable, secure, and affordable electricity that is essential for powering economic growth and development.
To help countries plan for power sector resilience, the USAID-NREL Partnership developed the Resilient Energy Platform, which provides expertly curated resources, training materials, data, tools, and technical assistance for planning resilient, sustainable, and secure power systems. The platform supports decision makers in assessing power sector vulnerabilities, identifying resilience solutions, and making informed decisions to enhance power sector resilience.
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 is vital to understand and plan for threats to the power system and their associated impacts. The Resilient Energy Platform guides decision makers through the process of developing resilient energy systems.
One of the key resources provided by the Resilient Energy Platform is a new guidebook — the Power Sector Resilience Planning Guidebook: A Self-Guided Reference for Practitioners. As a manual for power sector resilience planning, this guidebook can be used by policymakers, power sector investors, planners, system operators, and other energy-sector stakeholders to facilitate discussions and complete key steps of a power sector resilience planning process. Stakeholders can use the guidebook to develop strategic, country-specific processes that identify and implement actions to increase power sector resilience.
The guidebook covers topics such as threats, impacts, vulnerabilities, risks, and resilient solutions. Each chapter includes activities that support planning and a presentation that can be used as a reference for background material or to conduct training workshops.
For more information, visit the Resilient Energy Platform and the Power Sector Resilience Planning Guidebook. Topic-specific resources include Institutional Solutions to Enhance Power Sector Resilience and Power Sector Resilience Technical Solutions.
Sadie Cox is a Senior Researcher at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). She has managed several projects related to low emission development strategies (LEDS) during her ten years at NREL and serves as a lead for power sector transformation through the LEDS Global Partnership. Sadie’s areas of research expertise relate to design and implementation of LEDS, approaches to enable international collaboration and capacity building for LEDS, power sector transformation and resilience, and distributed generation for energy access.
Isabel McCan is a Communications Project Coordinator at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism Studies from the University of Denver and is currently pursuing her Master of Business Administration from the University of Colorado Denver.