By Firas Gerges, Michel Boufadel, and Hani Nassif
The Community Intrinsic Resilience Index (CIRI) captures the intrinsic (i.e., not relative) resilience level of critical community sectors, allowing practitioners and policymakers to make resilience-informed plans and strategies. Following our continuous communication and discussion with local stakeholders, our team is now focusing on expanding the energy module within CIRI. This is a crucial step to tackle energy budget deficits and attain energy equity, particularly in underserved communities within New Jersey.
In New Jersey, the infrastructure (i.e., the electric grid) to provide electric power to meet rising demand, such as to power electric cars, requires an investment upward of $6 billion and thus is not expected to occur in the short term. Therefore, solutions to address the weak points in the power grid are being considered. This is particularly crucial to aid in recovery following a disaster.
Figure 1 above shows satellite images for New Jersey at night during Hurricane Sandy. The images depict the scale of power outages, especially along the coastal communities. Scalable and rapid solutions include mobile energy storage, megawatt scale batteries that could be charged off-peak and can be placed where and when needed (e.g., close to commuter lines during weekdays). There could be multiple weak points in the power grid necessitating a combined effort to build the infrastructure and to provide mobile energy storage technology.
Our team is currently collecting and acquiring energy data from various sources (i.e., government, non-profit entities, and industry), as well as working to establish streamlined communication with energy users and developers in various communities. The team will work on assessing the energy resilience within New Jersey and locating communities that are in crucial need of scalable and rapidly deployable energy solutions.
The team consists of Dr. Michel Boufadel, Mr. Firas Gerges, and Dr. Hani Nassif. Dr. Boufadel is Distinguished Professor of Environmental Engineering, and Director of the Center for Natural Resources (cnr.njit.edu) at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT); Gerges is Ph.D. Candidate in Computer Science at NJIT; and Dr. Nassif is Professor of Civil Engineering and Director of the RIME lab at Rutgers University. https://cee.rutgers.edu/fac/hani-nassif