NYPA teams with AT&T to study impact of climate change on utility equipment

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AT&T Global Network Operations Center

Yesterday, the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and AT&T announced that they have struck a deal to share climate data to identify risks to utility and telecommunications infrastructure and hopefully better position New York State to be more resilient to extreme weather. A changing climate poses challenges when it comes to hardening assets and strengthening resilience of the electric grid.

Furthering ongoing research will benefit both the energy and telecommunications sectors, the two groups agree.

“The utility and telecommunications industries are interdependent, especially in an emergency, and this collaboration will help us both be able to mitigate potential costly events related to our climate,” said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA’s president and CEO.

“As part of this climate study, researchers will use hyper-localized climate data to help inform and plan smart infrastructure investments for optimal resiliency and reliability. This will help us be better positioned to be more prepared for climate-based events.”

The collaboration will supplement and advance an ongoing climate study previously announced by NYPA in collaboration with Argonne National Laboratory, EPRI, and Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP). An interdisciplinary team of scientists and engineers will use climate and infrastructure system modeling techniques, and a supercomputer to determine the risks an ever-changing climate may pose to NYPA’s infrastructure and operating systems.

AT&T will grant access to New York State climate data to advance the NYPA models, and the more granular data created during the project will be shared with both parties. NYPA will also benefit from a live demonstration of AT&T’s Climate Change Analysis Tool and discussion of plans around climate resilience.

“Since the launch of our Climate Change Analysis Tool, we have understood the importance of sharing our rich climate datasets with others to help assess vulnerability and build resilience,” said Shannon Carroll, director of global environmental sustainability at AT&T.

The energy and telecommunications sectors both have infrastructure that needs to withstand extreme weather events such as floods, heat waves and hurricanes. They are also interdependent, and both are needed to effectively and expediently recover following an extreme weather event. 

AT&T previously commissioned Argonne to model inland and coastal flooding and high-intensity wind speed in the Southeast United States to help understand the potential impacts of climate change at the neighborhood level.

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Jennifer Runyon is a Content Director at Clarion Energy, writing, editing and posting content on POWERGRID International and planning conference sessions for DISTRIBUTECH's live and virtual events. She as the conference advisory committee chair for DISTRIBUTECH International. You can reach her at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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