New York City Mayor's Office of Climate and Environmental Justice
At a Glance
Clean and Renewable Energy, Data Analysis
New York, NY
Kasey Motley evaluated the reliability of New York City’s electric grid and analyzed the vulnerability of local renewable energy sources to the impacts of climate change.
Climate change threatens New Yorkers’ access to clean and reliable energy. The impacts of climate change, such as temperature rise and heightened storm intensity, have increased the vulnerability of New York City’s existing electricity grid. This is particularly problematic when coupled with aging infrastructure, increasing population, and transmission limitations.
The NYC Mayor’s Office of Climate and Sustainability and the NYC Mayor's Office of Climate Resiliency enlisted Kasey Motley to investigate the reliability of the city’s electric grid and analyze the vulnerability of local renewable energy generation to the impacts of climate change.
Motley approached this challenge as three separate tasks:
- Analyze multiple years of grid reliability trends through the creation of a database and a visualization template that automatically tracks and organizes information on power outages and other relevant metrics. The dataset that Motley created includes 1,600 incidents and tracks where each incident took place and estimated impacts, as well as overlays with other social indicators.
- Assess the vulnerability of local renewables to climate-based events such as heat waves, cold waves, extreme rain events, windstorms, and storm surges. This analysis focuses on offshore wind and behind-the-meter solar but includes other clean energy technologies such as energy storage and hydropower.
- Evaluate ownership models for energy resources to determine how the City can support more localized generation of renewable energy resources.
To meet New York City’s goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050, an increased adoption of renewable energy generation is needed. Equally important is the equitable and reliable transmission and distribution of electricity.
The database Motley developed allows the Mayor’s Office to continuously track what areas are most affected by electricity reliability issues and helps identify trends to ensure that future improvements can be directed toward affected parties.
As more renewables are brought online, this research matrix will assist in the prioritization of investments.
The City is currently developing its first Long Term Energy Plan to be issued in 2022. Motley’s work will inform this plan and help New York City act against climate change.