As the US has experienced longer and more frequent disruptions in power in recent years, there is more discussion about energy resilience. According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), resilience is the capacity to anticipate, adapt to, and rapidly recover from disruptive incidents. The US Department of Energy (DOE) states that resilient communities with energy-efficient facilities and other distributed energy resources can reduce danger to public safety, security, and health. This may include designing community hubs with access to renewable energy and power storage such as through microgrids.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) defines a microgrid as “a group of interconnected energy-consuming devices and equipment (e.g., homes, businesses, or industrial facilities) and distributed energy resources within clearly defined electrical boundaries that act as a single controllable entity with respect to the utility grid. These microgrids generally operate while connected to the utility grid but, thanks to control capabilities (smart controls), these microgrid systems can disconnect from the conventional utility grid and operate autonomously to meet anticipated or potential utility outages.”
Santee-Cooper is serving as the state entity within SC to apply for, receive, and administer the formula grant provided under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), Section 40101(d). Santee Cooper plans to establish the South Carolina Grid Resilience Grant Program (GRG) and to fund projects that improve the resilience of the electric grid against disruptive events.
The SC Office of Resilience is currently working on the first Strategic Statewide Resilience and Risk Reduction Plan. It is primarily looking at flooding and related mitigation but is looking at other risks as well.