Exercises to Support Microgrid and Smart Cities Planning
The establishment of microgrids for the electrical infrastructure helps to sustain the ability of a community to bounce-back after a disaster by mitigating the impacts of wide-spread power outages, and hardening critical infrastructure to better withstand and recover from disasters. Power outages are also one of the largest contributors to indirect deaths from hurricanes and other disaster events and can have repercussions on both the health and mental health of those affected by disasters. ComEd has been investing in micro grid and smart city initiatives to build disaster resilience in communities in the greater Chicago area.
Exercises are an effective way to test plans, as well as planning assumptions, and to inform the development new plans and strategies in a dynamic, simulated disaster response environment. The National Center for Disaster Preparedness (NCDP) utilizes the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) approach to designing and evaluating exercises individually and as broader programs of multiple exercises. HSEEP is the US Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) standardized approach to conducting exercises, and is mandated as the approach to be used for all DHS funded exercises . Aside from this requirement, the HSEEP process provides a robust design and evaluation framework for single exercises and multi-exercise programs. NCDP proposed an initial discussion-based exercised, or a tabletop exercise, focused on a Chicago neighborhood to bring together community partners to test the broad impacts of different strategies for developing a micro-grid in the neighborhood. It will also set the stage for more complex operations-based exercises in the future if desired.