As a coastal city, New York City faces increasingly multifaceted levels of risks from extreme weather events. Some parts of the city are still recovering from the impact of Superstorm Sandy from 2012. This situation highlights the massive financial and social cost of these types of disasters, as well as our unpreparedness for such life-threatening storms. The “superstorm” caused $65 billion in damage, 159 deaths, and destroyed over half a million homes. Preparing for such extreme weather events like Sandy requires a lot of risk assessment and has become one of the most worrisome challenges facing city leaders around the country. With recent hurricanes causing extreme flooding in places like Houston, Florida, and Puerto Rico, these critical infrastructure risks apply across the country and across the globe.
In this installment of the AEG Podcast, Terry Sobolewski, Chief Customer Officer of National Grid US, joins us to speak about the many initiatives National Grid is working on to enhance service and engagement with customers. The key themes of this conversation are: (1) new energy technology through National Grid Ventures, (2) the Customer Experience Transformation, (3) big data and analytics for residential customers, (4) building resiliency capabilities through technology for first responder repair crews, (5) the needed dialogue to enhance energy systems in the Greater Boston Area, and (6) "not leave any customer behind in this clean energy transition".
To kick off the breakfast and prepare everyone to think through the problems together, H.G. Chissell reminded us, with a very personal story, of the importance and urgency of tackling these pressing energy issues. This is an important reminder that these are not disconnected issues that are somewhere else to be solved when we can, but are here, connected to the way we live and affect us on a personal level.
As a New England coastal city, Boston experiences a wide spectrum of weather conditions. With climate change, the weather events Boston is so well known for are projected to increase in frequency and intensity. Boston will have to respond the increasing impacts of extreme temperatures, enhanced precipitation, coastal storms, and sea level rise. These natural events negatively impact Boston in countless ways, but one major threat is the disruption of the energy infrastructure. As the life-force for every city, a reliable supply of energy at all times is of critical importance.
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In 2016, Washington, D.C. took a step forward in this direction when it became a member of 100 Resilient Cities, joining a network of over 1,000 metropolises around the world dedicated to improving the resiliency of their systems and infrastructure. As a member of this network, D.C. is currently developing a Resilience Strategy to prepare the District for future natural and man-made threats. This strategy is being developed through a collaborative effort that will incorporate input from a wide range of stakeholders, including community leaders, government authorities, and the private sector. The resulting Resilience Strategy aims to be comprehensive and capable of addressing the entire spectrum of threats that DC and other cities face. Certain initiatives like Sustainable D.C. 2.0 have been incorporated into the plan and are already underway.