White House, Energy Department Call For Power Grid Protection

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WASHINGTON, (UPI) — The White House and the Department of Energy released a report Monday on how to protect the nation’s electric grid from power outages during natural disasters.

The report, focusing on grid resilience as increasingly important as climate change increases the frequency and intensity of severe weather, contains estimates of the economic impact of power outages on the nation’s economy.

“The U.S. electric grid is a vital component of the nation’s infrastructure and delivers, transmits, and distributes electric power to millions of Americans in homes, schools, offices, and factories across the United States,” said Patricia Hoffman of the Energy Department’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability.

Weather-related outages are estimated to have cost the U.S. economy an inflation-adjusted annual average of $18 billion to $33 billion between 2003 and 2012, the report said, with 679 power outages due to weather events during that period.

The report urges increased investment in the electric grid and identifies strategies for modernizing the grid to better prevent power outages.

“Investment in a 21st century modernized electric grid has been an important focus of President Obama’s administration and this report underscores the importance of continued cross-sector investment to make the grid more resilient to the causes of power outages, including severe weather,” Hoffman said in an Energy Department release Monday.

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