The goal of this project is to develop and adapt a methodology that can help decision makers understand the impact of natural disasters (such as an extreme weather event) on an energy system, so as to build structural and non-structural mitigation strategies. An example of a structural solution is creating a levee to protect a component of the energy system or moving a substation out of a flood plain. A non-structural solution is a pre-disaster site survey, to determine the emergency energy needs for critical infrastructure such as schools, water sanitation facilities, etc. Whereas other KAPSARC studies have focused on energy security from an economic and optimization perspective at the national and regional level, this methodology is designed to provide insights on energy resiliency at a community/city level, and the impacts of a natural disaster on communities outside of the immediate impact zone.
We intend to base this methodological approach on Tim Frazier’s SERV (Spatially Explicit Resilience-Vulnerability Model). This is a geospatially-heavy approach that looks at natural hazards, incorporating the role of climate change and layering socio-economic and physical indictors (such as the electrical network, roads, bridges etc.) to determine differential vulnerability and resilience at a very fine level of geospatial detail. By adapting this methodology to Saudi Arabia, we will help decision makers understand the critical vulnerabilities in the energy system at a community level, and inform energy suppliers, first responders, planners, and other key leaders as to the ways to ensure that communities have access to energy after a natural disaster. This can be done by either by enhancing community and electrical system resilience through pre-disaster mitigation and/or guiding development in way to both lower vulnerability and minimize post disaster recovery time should community electrical systems be negatively impacted by disasters.