Energy resilience on a local level : inclusive planning for disaster
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
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The nature of today's energy and technology relationship means that there is a vulnerable relationship between energy delivery systems and the range of social, medical, and fiscal systems they currently support. In the past decade, the fragility of aging electric power grids with inadequate redundant generation, transmission, or distribution capacity, has been clearly revealed by the power losses resulting from Hurricanes Ike, Katrina, Superstorm Sandy, and most recently Hurricane Maria. A single downed pole can disable such traditional systems, leaving thousands without power for a short time, and a more significant event can have far more catastrophic consequences. Endemic financial strife only exacerbates these conditions, causing complicating factors like deferred maintenance and cheap materials selection. For islands' electricity systems especially, shocks could also come in the form of physical shortages of imported fuel, or other supply chain issues stemming from severe weather. Islands in the Caribbean tend to have a confluence of unfortunate factors in this regard; poorly funded and run utilities, dependence on imported fuels, and exposure to some of the highest winds in the western hemisphere. The term 'resilience' is subject to a multitude of interpretations and application across disciplines, therefore, depending on the school of thought and scale of focus (physical infrastructure or social communities) there are various ways to design for resilience. The study of resilience of grid infrastructure systems in Puerto Rico in particular revealed that weak institutions, poor financial management, and lack of citizen participation combined to create a system that did not perform as needed for its main client, the electricity customer. By closely studying the factors which make a system "resilient" and perform well to unanticipated shock, I will propose a participatory planning framework for community enclaves to provide essential services to Caribbean island communities in a cost-constrained context.
Thesis: M.C.P., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, 2018.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 50-54).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.