Energy assurance plans help keep the lights on
An insurance policy against loss
Some local governments are considering their energy security planning as an investment similar to an insurance policy. “You pay a small premium up-front to protect against something you hope never happens,” Mosley says.
However, energy security planning does not have to be resource intensive, she says. She suggests several low- and no-cost options used by some local governments:
- Identify and document all generator locations, the fuel used in each, their fuel capacity and make sure these generators are exercised.
- Locate and map fuel storage facilities.
- Require that all government fleet vehicles have at least a half-tank of fuel at the end of a shift.
- Traditional telecommuting and four-day work weeks help control the load growth and energy used by your local government
- Review all existing fuel contracts, ensuring that your government is “first in line” in an energy emergency.
- Review all available materials related to any past energy emergency, and put together a short document that outlines the lessons learned
- Pre-position equipment such as emergency generators, portable indoor heaters, battery chargers and portable lighting where they might be needed in an emergency.
- Start an awards program that recognizes voluntary innovative energy saving strategies in the residential, commercial sector or industrial sectors.
If an emergency occurs that affects energy, local governments must be prepared to “go it alone” for at least 72 hours because state and federal governments may not be able to provide assistance for at least that long, Mosley says. “If that happens, a local government is better prepared if it has an energy assurance plan,” she says.
- Read the "Energy assurance planning tips and resources" sidebar to learn more from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Public Technology Institute.
George Burmeister is a strategic advisor to the Public Technology Institute (PTI) and president of the Boulder, Colo.-based Colorado Energy Group, Inc. Steve Foute also is a strategic advisor to PTI and a former environmental manager for the City and County of Denver.