Taking action to combat climate change and its impact includes identifying the best strategies to ensure reliable, resilient, and cost-effective delivery of electrical power energy that will set a path to decarbonization to address climate change. Integrating renewable energy resources and energy storage, together with electrification of transportation and innovative approaches to electrifying off grid and near grid communities, are critical ingredients of any energy future.
Electric energy systems, notably the electric grid, are described as one of the most complex machines ever built. They are not, however, perfect. We have seen for example the Northeast blackout of 2003 affecting over 50 million people, the blackout in India in 2012 affecting 400 million people, and many other events showing the limitations of present systems. Sometimes these outages are caused by something as immense as a hurricane or a superstorm, and sometimes by something as small as an overgrown tree. In the "new abnormal" of significant weather events (e.g., catastrophic wildfires, hurricanes, significant rain/snow incidents), we must take more aggressive actions to adapt to the changing climate, including grid infrastructure hardening, enhanced vegetation management, and improved grid and equipment monitoring. As the grid continues to face these evolving challenges, as well as the potential of cyber and physical terrorism, we have the opportunity to make it better than it was before - contributing to achieving the SDGs. We also need to recognize the value that the electrical grid brings as an enabler to increase penetration of renewable resources, improve resilience, provide market access for DER, increase electrification, lower market prices, and increase customer choice to enable inclusiveness and equality. What we need now is a renewed understanding of the value of not just electricity, but the grid that enables it, and recognize the contributions of energy resources like residential solar panels or energy storage to it.
This presentation brings together renowned experts from the power engineering community to discuss success factors for sustainable electrical energy delivery in the context of climate change that is negatively impacting nations. In addition, discussing electricity development impacting the capacity for economic growth and development and the deepening community energy exclusion and inequality. The panelists will address the transformative changes that are needed to current energy, infrastructure, and production systems to help ensure sustainable electrical energy. This presentation will provide informed perspective grounded in engineering practices and real-world examples to inform practical approaches to realizing SDG 13, as well as SDG 7, that can enable inclusion and equality.