Analysis Group Expert Susan Tierney Publishes Commentary on US Energy Resilience

December 18, 2017

In an opinion piece titled "About that national conversation on resilience of the electric grid: The urgent need for guidance and action" published on the Utility Dive website, Analysis Group Senior Advisor Susan F. Tierney comments on the important distinction between "reliability" and "resilience." Utility Dive covers news and analysis related to the U.S. utility industry.

The U.S. energy delivery system is extremely reliable, according to Dr. Tierney, but she writes that more must be done to ensure that the system is also resilient - that is, can quickly mobilize the resources needed to restore the system following "big-impact events." Such events result in unexpected, wide-area outages, whether due to natural causes or human actions.

In part, resiliency depends on a varied set of generating resources with diverse attributes, so that no single failure overwhelms the entire system. However, Dr. Tierney points to a number of threats that she believes are either overlooked or underappreciated in current government proposals to improve resiliency nationwide. Ultimately, concludes Dr. Tierney, "we need thoughtful, serious, and urgent guidance from government actors to provide frameworks and incentives to motivate private actors to help solve the resilience problem."  

Dr. Tierney previously served as the Assistant Secretary for Policy at the U.S. Department of Energy and an environmental cabinet officer and public utility commissioner for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Read the article