People around the United States watched in dismay as Texans suffered through a terrible series of events in mid-February —below average temperatures, rolling blackouts that lasted nearly five days for some, burst pipes, energy bill spikes and an overall sense of trauma and shock.
In the last several years, the Midwest’s rural and urban communities alike have seen increased risks to their infrastructure, including underinvestment, flooding, extreme heat and cold, drought and tornadoes, among others. While the threats vary by community, the need for resilience planning is consistent.
According to the Weather Channel, the Plains and Midwest states have had the most extreme and record-breaking weather of any region in 2019. From the polar vortex gripping the Midwest and setting at least 340 cold weather records in late January, to the deluge of snow in February, capped off by devastating flooding in March and two snowstorms in April, Midwesterners and the Midwest have had everything but the kitchen sink thrown at them!
As more and more distributed resources come onto the grid, we are coming full circle back to something that looks more like Edison’s original distributed energy system, after a century of Samuel Insull’s centralized model. Besides changes in how energy is generated, the way it is used is also changing, with energy customers becoming active participants rather than just passive consumers. The interoperability of all of the devices on the grid is essential to keeping up with the changing needs of customers and energy markets.