GE Study Helps Assess Resiliency of New Jersey’s Electrical Grid

SCHENECTADY, NY — With the string of intense natural disasters and severe storms across the Northeast in recent years, utilities are exploring new strategies to build “resilient grids” that can withstand and recover from damage incurred during storms and other major events. In New Jersey, the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) enlisted GE’s Energy Consulting business, through Rutgers University, to review the resiliency plans of the regulated electric distribution companies (EDCs) throughout the state.

Over the course of three years, New Jersey experienced three major weather events that had direct impacts on the state’s utility grids and on its electricity ratepayers. In August 2011, Hurricane Irene brought devastating rains, winds and flooding that resulted in more than 2.2 million people throughout the state being left without power for up to eight days. Later that year (in October) a large early snowstorm knocked out power to more than a million people for up to seven days. In late October and early November of 2012, Superstorm Sandy hit the entire Northeast hard, leaving 2.5 million people in New Jersey without power for up to 10 days.

Since Superstorm Sandy, the Christie Administration has made it a priority to improve the reliability and resiliency of the state’s energy infrastructure. The board already has approved $1.5 billion in storm mitigation plans, launched the Energy Resilience Bank (ERB) to improve the resilience of critical facilities and at a recent meeting, announced a vegetation management pilot program that is designed to investigate ways to reduce outages caused by hazard trees outside of the EDCs’ right of way.

The GE report provides the BPU with additional recommendations from a third-party, independent evaluation managed through Rutgers Bloustein School (Center for Energy Economics and Environmental Policy) led by Dr. Frank Felder.

Read the entire report here:

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