Date of Award

6-2014

Degree Name

Master of City and Regional Planning

Department

City and Regional Planning

Advisor

Michael Boswell

Abstract

Resilience and solar energy are separately growing in popularity for urban planners and similar professionals. This project links the two discrete terms together and examines the extent to which solar energy can improve local government resilience efforts. It includes a detailed literature review of both topics, as well as the methodology and findings related to a survey and interviews of local government officials and key stakeholders across the country related to hazard mitigation and energy assurance planning.

This research finds that integrating the use of solar energy can improve local government resilience efforts related to mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery activities in the following ways: by being incorporated into hazard mitigation strategies as a means to maintain critical operations, thereby reducing loss of life and property; by being utilized in comprehensive planning efforts to increase capacity and decrease reliance and stress upon the grid, thereby reducing the likelihood of blackout events; by being used in tandem with backup storage systems as an integral part of energy assurance planning, which can help ensure critical functions continue in times of grid outage; by being used to provide power for response activities such as water purification, medicine storage and device charging; and by being used as an integral part of rebuilding communities in a more environmentally-conscious manner.

The result of the research is a document entitled Solar Energy & Resilience Planning: a practical guide for local governments, a guidebook for local government officials wishing to have more information about incorporating solar energy into current resilience initiatives; it is included at the end of the report as Appendix C.

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