A Case Study: Energy Assurance Planning at the Local Level


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  • Our environment and its limited natural resources continue to be of increasing interest for many Americans today. As the focus of our society is shifted from a resource consuming environment, to a more aware of resource scarcity nation, it is becoming apparent that energy, in its various forms, is essential to our society. Energy, in its assorted forms, lights our homes, powers our commercial and industrial buildings, and fuels our vehicles. Essentially every aspect of our modern society requires energy to function. Energy Assurance planning is of utmost importance for governments, at all levels. However, of particular importance is the local level. Energy emergencies can have enormous impact areas, but just like any type of emergency, local governments are the first to respond to and recover from, energy emergencies. Your energy assurance plan should provide guidance on preparation and response to energy disruptions affecting your municipal operations, at a minimum. However, ultimately your plan should also provide guidance on response and preparation for your locality, as a whole. Partnerships in the community are an invaluable asset that should be continued or created for the most successful EA plan. As you have learned this morning, all Critical Infrastructure sectors are vulnerable to attack, vandalism, weather –related events, technological failures, etc. While their protection cannot be perfect, it can be designed for resistance, resiliency and isolation of local failures to limit potential cascading effects.
  • So a little background information about the region of SE NC that we will examine today: The City of Wilmington is the county seat of New Hanover County. In 2010, the United States Census Bureau estimated New Hanover County’s population at 202,667 and the City’s population at 106,476. More than one half of the County’s total population resides within the city limits of Wilmington, yet the City covers less than a quarter of the County’s total land square miles. Specifically, New Hanover County covers 328 square miles (199 of which are land and 129 are water) and Wilmington, 41.5 square miles (41 of which are land and 0.5 are water); thus necessitating the need for clearly defined authority and responsibility chain between the two local entities during an energy emergency. Historically, the City and County have successfully managed numerous emergency events and therefore, an established working relationship of key responders made the culmination of this relationship more straightforward. While the typical event that activates the operation of the City or County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is a hurricane, (Have you all ever dealt with this? Hahaha), many of the response functions for an energy event are the same. I make this distinction between the two entities now so that you can understand the diifferences as we talk today. I will cover two Experiences with each the City of Wilmington and New Hanover County.
  • I was hired by the City of Wilmington nearly 10 years ago to manage their electricity and water consumption at their city owned and operated facilities. This position morphed into something much larger upon the most recent budget crisis felt at governments of all levels and the need to reduce electrical and water operating costs. The old “do more with less.” As most of you know, in 2009, Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act -- commonly referred to as the "stimulus" or the "stimulus package.” The City of Wilmington was awarded several ARRA grants, but for purposes of this presentation, I will cover two that are directly related to today’s workshop: EECBG (no longer available to local governments) & LEAP.
  • The City was awarded funds through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program. The program is intended to assist U.S. cities, counties, states, territories, and Indian tribes to develop, promote, implement, and manage energy efficiency and conservation projects and programs. The City completed several energy efficiency and energy assurance projects through these funds. I will cover the four projects that I feel most benefited the City, although picking only 4 has proven difficult. All of the projects implemented have impacted the City positively and continue to do so.
  • What you are looking at here are pictures of the City’s Fleet Maintenance building. This is the facility where municipally owned vehicles such as police cars, trash trucks, street sweepers, sedans and pick up trucks are serviced by the City’s Fleet staff. Solar panels were installed on the building’s exterior to generate power to offset the facility’s electrical costs. This was the City’s second round of solar panel installations and included this building, as well as another nearby. Energy Savings Fans were also installed inside the facility in December 2012. They push hot air in cylinder form down to the ground, keeping the entire building at the same temperature. Which as you can see was previously a nightmare. With the high ceilings and bay doors, the cost to heat this particular facility skyrocketed in the winter months.
  • Here you see the two more projects: a solar area light and occupancy sensors. While the solar area light installation was expensive, this location was chosen very carefully and has resulted in a highly visible project that is also an excellent demonstration of the City’s commitment to alternative energy sources and resiliency. Citizens and employees alike see this impressive structure every single day when they visit the downtown area. The other picture you see is of lighting occupancy sensors. While the concept of occupancy sensors is not new, the mass installation that the City decided upon was new for them. Previously the City had sensors located in high traffic meeting rooms but in very few other places. With the ARRA funding, sensors were able to be installed throughout most of their facilities.
  • After the City’s success with EECBG, they decided to apply for the a local energy assurance planning grant, also known as LEAP, to enhance existing efforts to ensure their resiliency before and after an energy emergency event. In fact, PTI (Public Technology Institute – the folks who have made today’s session possible) provided hours of support as the City navigated this process. As you have seen, they had already utilized some ARRA funds for energy efficiency but quickly realized that many of the projects completed were also in line with the goals of energy assurance planning. So, the City was able to hire a full time (temporary) Sustainability Manager to complete their first ever Energy Assurance plan. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect as the budget crisis continued and the possibility of funding a new full time position during the crisis was non-existent (no matter how much they believed in the effort). So I decided to apply for and was hired, as the City’s First ever Sustainability Manager. I worked closely with a variety of staff members, as well as a private consulting firm hired by the City to research and write an energy assurance plan. At the time, EA planning was a “new” topic to most involved and it was difficult to gain support. However, as the time passed and more information was made available, staff began to realize the magnitude of potential loss that could result from an energy (or fuel) disruptive event. I suspect that each of you in the audience may have a similar struggle gaining support for your energy assurance plans, but let me assure you that it is possible especially when armed with the information you are learning today!
  • There are several intrinsic outcomes that have also resulted from the energy assurance plan creation; namely a better understanding of energy interdependencies, sustainability and areas that should receive additional focus. However perhaps the biggest success of this grant was the recommendation (and acceptance) to create a full time permanent sustainability projects manager!! This was a huge accomplishment…if you remember how I mentioned the city was in no position to create new staff positions … however between the EECBG and LEAP grants, the benefit of such a position FAR outweighed the cost. Outreach and education was key.
  • So let’s switch gears a little bit. Upon completion of the previously mentioned grants, I was hired by New Hanover County to complete two projects: a fuel monitor installation with corresponding data analysis on minimum fuel requirements AND, the completion of the ESF-12 section of their Emergency Operations Plan. Fuel planning is of utmost importance for governments, at all levels. Of particular importance is the local level. Fuel disruptions can have enormous impact areas, but it is the responsibility of local governments to understand minimum requirements to operate. The plan supplements New Hanover County’s existing emergency management plan and provides guidance on requirements to prepare for fuel disruptions. As mentioned, New Hanover County received a grant from the North Carolina State Energy Office to assist in the completion of the ESF-12 (Emergency Support Function 12) section of the County Emergency Operations Plan. An integral component of the energy section of the plan is to understand fuel requirements throughout the County to better plan for a potential energy emergency. The State of North Carolina provided the installation of and access to data received from fuel monitors on participating local government’s fuel tanks as part of the grant. The County does not currently own any vehicle fuel tanks thus a partnership between the County and the City of Wilmington was the best method to gauge real-time fuel consumption at the local government level. Fuel monitors were installed on three fuel tanks owned by the City of Wilmington and used solely for municipal operations. The monitors provided fuel consumption data for several months via an online portal. The focus of the installation was to improve the County, City, and the State’s understanding of fuel requirements on a local level, while simultaneously developing a greater understanding of energy assurance. A perfect example of local agencies working together to gain mutual benefit.
  • We will discuss your agency’s fuel requirements this afternoon as the workshop continues; the next several slides show some of the examples of the types of information I gathered to gain a greater understanding of fuel requirements for both the City and the County. The chart you are looking at on this slide shows the fuel consumption at three fuel tanks. Why is this important? Because we were able to see exactly how much fuel is required to operate on a daily, weekly and monthly basis – in turn to be better prepared to quickly communicate the fuel requirements to others in the event of an emergency. Who has time to analyze data such as this during an emergency? NO ONE – so this information will truly be invaluable.
  • This is analysis of the daily requirements of one specific fuel tank. As you can see, it is easy to determine the days of the week requiring the largest amount of fuel under normal operating circumstances. One could further reason that if a short term energy emergency or fuel shortage occurred on a Monday, the effects would be much less devastating than on a Friday, for example. In theory however, the City would begin conservation measures at the onset of such emergency and normal operations would cease – allowing all fuel to be dedicated to essential services. Again, great information to know BEFORE an emergency!
  • Additionally, to complete a thorough analysis of fuel requirements, data was collected from the WEX card online portal for calendar year 2012 to capture fuel usage of New Hanover County vehicles. WEX allows comprehensive, easy-to-read online reporting of all fuel purchases. Essentially a gas credit card for those that are not familiar with the term WEX. The online reporting tool allows quick access to the type, amount, location and cost of each fuel purchase. Utilizing this data made it simple to identify the daily, weekly and monthly minimum fuel requirements for the fleet. So now you have seen two methods of obtaining the same information. Here you see the annual fuel requirements for New Hanover County.
  • On the previous slide, you saw the annual fuel requirements. From that data, I was able to again estimate the daily, weekly and monthly average requirements. With this data, public officials are able to quickly relay potential fuel needs during a shortage.
  • By breaking down the data from the previous slides even further, you can see fuel consumptions for specific departments. Here is a look at the public safety offices, the sheriff’s department and fire department. Another interesting finding from a thorough analysis of WEX card transaction data is a picture of the most frequented locations for fuel purchase by New Hanover County employees on official business. By analyzing this data, it becomes easy to locate the most frequented gas stations and in turn, to potentially partner with them to ensure fuel availability and/or priority status to official government vehicles during a fuel shortage.
  • As you have heard, New Hanover County has an excellent method of data collection for fuel purchases through its WEX fuel card program. As operations change frequently with local governments, I have recommended that the County analyze their fuel purchases annually, at a minimum. This review might occur in coordination with the annual update of the Emergency Operations Plan. Additionally, several items can be addressed in future revisions that will likely prove invaluable in fuel shortage planning efforts. Such items include: Review of minimum fuel requirements per department; allowing each department to understand its fuel quantity requirements, as well as associated costs Review fuel data after each emergency event (as relevant) to gain a complete picture of minimum fuel requirements during emergency events Evaluate each department for emergency operations criticality to develop a plan to ensure critical operations can continually function during fuel shortages; train employees as needed Consider working closely with nearby towns to detail how the agencies can best work together in the event of a fuel shortage (for example: what fuel supplies are currently on hand with each agency? Which facilities have backup generator capabilities?) Create a list of petroleum conservation measures Consider expanding the petroleum conservation measures list to include what actions the general public can take if faced with a fuel shortage
  • The final report that I created for New Hanover County was their ESF-12. For those of you that are not familiar with this term, it is Emergency Support Function #12, under the National Response Framework (NRF), and is an integral part of the larger DOE responsibility of maintaining continuous and reliable energy supplies for the Nation through preventive measures and restoration and recovery actions. On the local level, many governments operate their Emergency Plans according to these Emergency Support Function guidelines. I like to compare an ESF-12 Plan to an Energy Assurance Plan like all of you are here today to create. While an ESF-12 is much shorter in length and is used primarily as a quick reference, it contains some of the same information that you are looking at today. In the plan created for New Hanover County, I outlined several levels of an energy shortage from normal operating conditions TO a shortage that has the potential to cause an outage lasting several days to weeks. This plan clearly defines what steps should be taken during each degree of shortage and also clearly dictates who will do what. As you have also already learned this morning, having a successful EA Plan (or ESF-12) Plan hinges on your ability to involve the right people for the job. An interesting finding from my research revealed that during an energy shortage in New Hanover County, the County Property Management staff will actually be more involved than the Emergency Management staff. Why? It’s simple: property management staff know where energy sources are and how much is required to operate equipment, buildings and vehicles. An excellent example of thinking outside the box and involving the correct staff in your planning efforts.
  • So, I know this is a lot of information to hear at once AND we’ve all just had lunch BUT if there are any questions, I am happy to take them now. Thank you again for listening to my experiences with Energy Assurance Planning at the local government level and if you think of any questions once you leave here today, please contact Ronda Mosley with PTI and she will gladly put you in direct contact with me.
  • A Case Study: Energy Assurance Planning at the Local Level

    1. 1. A Case Study:A Case Study:Energy AssurancePlanning at the Local Level
    2. 2. Importance of EA PlanningImportance of EA Planning• Why is an EA Plan Important?– First response = local level– Many potential causes of CI failure: weatherrelated, attack, vandalism, technologicalfailures, etc.– Must design for resistance, resiliency andisolation of local failures!
    3. 3. BackgroundBackground• New Hanover County• Population: 202,667• Includes: City of Wilmington,Kure Beach, Carolina Beachand Wrightsville Beach• 328 square miles (199 landand 129 water)• City of Wilmington• Population: 106,476• County seat of New Hanover• 41.5 square miles (41 land and0.5 water)
    4. 4. How Did I Get Started?How Did I Get Started?• City of Wilmington, N.C.• Existing interest in energy efficiency fueledby the need to reduce facility operatingcosts• ARRA: EECBG (Energy Efficiency &Conservation Block Grant)• ARRA: LEAP (Local Energy AssurancePlanning)
    5. 5. City of Wilmington, N.C. & EECBGCity of Wilmington, N.C. & EECBG• Received EECBG funds• Decide on projects- most needed to beshovel ready• Motivated by the need to reduce operatingcosts with little to no additional capitaloperating budget
    6. 6. City of Wilmington, N.C.City of Wilmington, N.C.Fleet Building SolarFleet BuildingFans
    7. 7. City of Wilmington, N.C.City of Wilmington, N.C.Solar Area Light Occupancy Sensors
    8. 8. Wilmington, N.C. & LEAPWilmington, N.C. & LEAP
    9. 9. Legacy of EA Plan ProcessLegacy of EA Plan ProcessFull time, permanent position dedicatedSustainability Projects Management!
    10. 10. New Hanover County, N.C.New Hanover County, N.C.• Fuel Monitoring• ESF-12(Emergency Support Function #12: Energy)
    11. 11. FuelFuelMonitorsMonitors•Provided real time views of fuel consumption•Eliminated the “stick” methodOverall Fuel Requirements in GallonsFuel Tank Daily Average Weekly Average Monthly AverageTank #1 301 2,030 8,887Tank #2* 378 2,806 11,329Tank #3 746 5,152 22,395Total Gallons 1,425 9,988 42,611Source: RF Fuel Monitors; * Diesel tank
    12. 12. Fuel MonitorsFuel Monitors
    13. 13. WEX Card AnalysisWEX Card AnalysisNew Hanover County Fuel Usage, 2012Fuel Type Total Gallons Gross $ #of TransactionsDiesel 61,359 $237,339 3,296Fuel Other 1,138 $4,298 91Premium 25,872 $95,091 2,100Unleaded 342,381 $1,216,575 25,071Total 430,750 $1,553,303 30,558Source: WEX Online Data for calendar year 2012
    14. 14. WEX Card AnalysisWEX Card AnalysisNew Hanover County Minimum Fuel Requirements, 2012Fuel Type Daily Weekly MonthlyDiesel 168 1,180 5,113Fuel Other 3 22 95Premium 71 498 2,156Unleaded 938 6,584 28,532Source: WEX Online Data for calendar year 2012
    15. 15. WEX Card AnalysisWEX Card AnalysisAnnual Fuel Consumption: New Hanover County First Responders, 2012Agency Total Gallons* Gross $ #of TransactionsNHC Sheriff’s Department 251,569 $898,267 19,857NHC Fire Services 43,376 $164,960 2,251Total 294,945 $1,063,227 22,108
    16. 16. Future Fuel Data ManagementFuture Fuel Data Management• Recommend analysisannually• Review data bydepartment to alloweach department tounderstand their fuelrequirements andhow they fit into theorganization as awhole• Evaluate alloperations forcriticality at leastannually• Create a petroleumconservationmeasures list
    17. 17. New Hanover County, N.C.New Hanover County, N.C.• ESF-12• Outline levels of an energy (or fuel) shortage• Who will do what at each level?• Involve the right people for the job!
    18. 18. Legacy of EA Plan ProcessLegacy of EA Plan Process• As funds allow, NHC will run energy/ fuelshortage EOC scenarios to ensure allneighboring communities are prepared• NHC will update their fuel requirements annually• Continue a strong relationship with the State ofNorth Carolina Energy Office
    19. 19. Q & AQ & A