Whisker Labs recently hosted a webinar focused on fundamental challenges and required solutions concerning Grid Resiliency. Key industry leaders and policy experts convened to highlight the need for improved electric grid resiliency and safety and the important role comprehensive grid monitoring can play in achieving these goals. 

Proprietary data shows that grid resiliency and safety are declining. Climate change, combined with the increased importance of reliable, safe, and high-quality power to enable every aspect of modern society, is increasing the importance of grid resiliency. Grid faults and failures and poor power quality cost the economy hundreds of billions of dollars annually and endanger thousands of lives. The Maui wildfires of last summer and the Texas grid collapse in the winter of 2022 are examples highlighted in the webinar. Additionally, based on recent data, 1 percent of U.S. homes are estimated to have dangerous power delivered to them. Comprehensive grid monitoring from independent third parties is now available at scale and can help identify problems before they result in catastrophic losses.

The panelists discussed the impacts of grid failures and the cost to society, potential solutions, how greater grid monitoring plays a role, and what the federal government must do to catalyze progress in this area.  

Panelists included: 

Dr. Karen Wayland, CEO of Gridwise Alliance, is a nationally recognized energy and environmental policy expert. With decades of executive experience on Capitol Hill, within the DOE, and at the White House, Dr. Wayland provides unique insight into the role and barriers of federal intervention and top-down regulation for energy policy.  

Jon Wellinghoff, CEO of GridPolicy Inc. and former Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, is an internationally renowned expert on all things energy policy and electric grid with refined expertise in the interface of disruptive energy systems within the traditional utility structures. His wealth of experience in private energy consulting and U.S. government agencies provides diverse insights into the delicate balance and role of private and public entities to ensure grid modernization and safety. 

Bob Roper, Policy Advisor for the Western Fire Chiefs Association, currently serves on the Biden Administration’s Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission. With nearly fifty years of firefighting experience, including work as the Nevada State Forester and Fire Chief of Ventura County, CA, Bob is keenly positioned to speak extensively on the need for preventive data measures and more comprehensive utility approaches to adequately prevent fire threats and catastrophes. 

Sean Kevelighan brings invaluable insight from the insurance sector as CEO of the Insurance Information Institute since 2016. Kavelighan provides an array of expertise from the policy side, with a background in public policy on Capitol Hill, the Department of Treasury, and the Office of Management and Budget. His insights help contextualize the needs within the insurance sector and the role of federal policy in bridging these gaps. 

Throughout the hour-long conversation, the panelists engaged with one another on the barriers to grid resilience for utility companies, the role of climate change in deteriorating grid infrastructure, the role of the federal government in catalyzing utility action, the liability and risks of utility companies if they continue to neglect data implementation, the contributions of Artificial Intelligence in grid monitoring, and other pressing matters facing grid resilience and safety. Watch the full webinar here to learn more about the need for policy and federal intervention in ensuring valuable data-sensing tools are employed by utility companies to increase power grid safety and resilience. 


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