Understanding the Value of Weatherization: Protecting people and the power system in extreme weather
- April 17, 2023
- Carol Winkel
As extreme weather becomes a more common experience for people throughout the world, including here in the Pacific Northwest, planning to adapt is a priority.
Intense heat waves, like the record-breaking heat dome a few years ago, and winter storms with extreme cold temperatures, have underscored the need to strengthen the power system’s ability to withstand these stresses. One way to do this is through well-insulated homes and buildings that improve comfort during power outages and extreme weather and also help prevent steep spikes in energy use that strain the system.
In its 2021 Power Plan, the Council directed the Regional Technical Forum, which verifies energy savings, to develop a methodology to quantify the value of energy efficiency that supports resilience, especially the role that weatherization could play for homes and buildings.
In 2022, the RTF contracted Apex Analytics to draft an approach. Analysts found that while many areas are thinking about grid resilience, there was little research into the home and building resilience benefits of energy efficiency.
Apex began by identifying data sources and developed a methodology to determine initial values. This is a first of its kind approach to quantifying this benefit, and it provides a starting point for work leading into the Council’s next power plan.
In a presentation to the Council at its April meeting, Power Division Director Jennifer Light outlined the initial methodology from Apex and noted that staff is:
- Exploring a more granular approach in their analysis as resilience impacts are likely to vary based on geography and demographics
- Considering alternative approaches to improve assumptions, including event definition and approaches to valuing resilience
- Expanding the approach to other resources, including additional energy efficiency measures for things like ventilation and heating and cooling equipment, for example
- Staff is also thinking about the importance of grid resilience for reliability and how to address this in planning for resource needs
Read the Report: Energy Efficiency Resilience Valuation Methodology Study