Introduction to improving grid safety & resilience during extreme weather events and wildfires.


This three-year grid safety and resilience initiative began in June 2019 and aims to continue EPRI’s R&D on extreme weather incidents and their associated impacts to the power system. The key focus areas of this particular project are avoidance and recovery. The effort is designed to help answer many grid resiliency (leading practice) research questions associated with:

  • Materials science
  • Detection of downed wires and other arcing sources
  • System protection response and configuration
  • Work practices
  • New design performance and longevity
  • Enhanced situational awareness opportunities
  • Leverage of new inspection and assessment technologies
  • Risk assessment

Key Research Question:

How can utilities and distribution companies more systematically plan, design, and operate their systems in consideration of increasing numbers of extreme weather and other natural disaster events?

Objective (the why):

Leading utilities are coming up with new innovations around the topic of grid resilience and the collaborative learnings from that work in conjunction with EPRI’s ability to place the work into the context of (the complete asset management cycle) perspective can help the entire industry to learn from each other and prioritize technology advancements.

Research Summary:

Overall this work brings increased focus toward what EPRI and other industry research partners can do to support enhanced understanding and capability in the following four areas:

  1. Incident avoidance
  2. System Resilience
  3. Response and Recovery
  4. Risk Metrics

To accomplish the enhanced understanding objectives, EPRI facilitates the following activities:

  1. Publications that discuss new innovations and documentation of valuable and innovative resiliency practices by leading utilities.
  2. Member events (workshops and webcasts) that facilitate information sharing, technology transfer and collaboration.
  3. Performance and accelerated aging tests at the EPRI Lenox, MA facility and at member facilities where unique capabilities may exist.
  4. Field demonstrations where pilot tests on hardware, communications, and protection settings can be evaluated under real world conditions.