Energy Resilience & Emergency Management Office
Electricity is essential to our daily life and is the lifeline for our communities. Electricity pumps clean drinking water and operates our wastewater treatment plants; it moves natural gas through pipelines and powers critical facilities such as healthcare, food and fuel operations.
As the effects of natural and manmade disasters have become more frequent, communities must prepare for potential energy disruptions that can significantly impact critical services.
Moving forward one of our priority areas is energy assurance planning and we will be updating Washington State’s Energy Assurance Plan in the coming year. This is just the beginning of a series of projects and announcements that explore the intersection of energy vulnerabilities at critical facilities and disaster mitigation planning.
We are exploring how our communities can better assess their energy vulnerabilities, specifically how to assess their critical facility power outage vulnerabilities and how they can plan and identify power sector mitigation activities. Essential to this understanding is knowledge of a few key terms.
Energy Assurance is a broad term but in general means having the confidence or certainty in the ability to respond to an energy emergency or disruption. This confidence or certainty comes from three main categories of activities: preparation and planning, mitigation and response, and recovery. Central to all of this is education, outreach, and communication.
Energy Security can mean the uninterrupted availability of energy sources at affordable prices. The uninterrupted availability of our energy resources can be threatened by both manmade and natural disasters which is why one element of energy security is focused on physical and cybersecurity. Energy insecurity; therefore, is the interrupted availability of energy or the inability to afford energy.
In general, energy reliability can be thought of as the ability of an energy production system to provide consistent and expected levels of energy under stated conditions for a specified period of time.
One definition of resilience comes from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). FERC poses that resilience means the ability to withstand and reduce the magnitude and/or duration of a disruptive event and includes the capability to anticipate, absorb, adapt to, and rapidly recover from such an event.
Current Program Initiatives
Washington State volunteers for US Department of Energy led initiative to standardize how utilities report outages
Washington State has volunteered to be the pilot state for the Outage Data Initiative Nationwide (ODIN) program, an initiative led by the US Department of Energy (DOE) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Currently, during power outage incidents, outage data from utilities is fragmented and poorly standardized. Many utilities choose to display outage information on their websites, while others only post updates to social media, and some do not share information
We’ll be emailing once a quarter with news about our work including topics related to fuel planning efforts, cybersecurity, regional energy resilience grants and guidance. (Emergency alerts or information will NOT be coming from this publication.)
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