Improving Electric Utility and Community Grid Resilience Planning

Sandia National Laboratories
Project Complete

In 2019, Sandia National Laboratories contracted Synapse Energy Economics to improve understanding and provide guidance on the challenges and opportunities facing communities and electric utilities seeking to coordinate energy-related resilience efforts. The research was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and conducted as part of the Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium’s Designing Resilient Communities: A Consequence-Based Approach for Grid Investment (DRC) project. Synapse was one of several government, industry, and university partners on the project team and provided expertise on electric utility regulation.

Synapse produced a series of five reports exploring several important topics related to its area of focus, including:

  • Current landscape: structured interviews with six community and utility pairs to better characterize the existing state of resilience planning within and across jurisdictions and identify opportunities for improvement;
  • Benefit-cost analysis for grid investments in resilience: the first application of the framework developed in the 2020 National Standard Practice Manual for Benefit-Cost Analysis of Distributed Energy Resources to grid resilience investments;
  • Resilience performance metrics: guidance for jurisdictions to take the important step of defining and establishing performance metrics for resilience;
  • Resilient public purpose microgrids: definition of the term and characterization of five project types that may be more likely to receive ratepayer funding; and
  • Regulatory mechanisms to support resilience: mechanisms that electric utility regulators can use to align grid resilience investments with resilience interests and priorities.