Grid Resilience Insights Recognized as a TIME Best Invention of 2022

11.10.2022 | Ali Barsamian

Making the list

Today, TIME revealed its annual list of the Best Inventions, which features 200 extraordinary innovations changing our lives. UrbanFootprint could not be more thrilled to share that our Grid Resilience Insights solution has been included in this year’s list as part of the Sustainability category.

The pressure is real for the grid

The urgency to address unprecedented and unpredictable demand and safety challenges in the face of heat waves, extreme cold, fire risk, and sea rise is clearer than ever. But the dynamic nature of the challenge means it’s not always easy to know where to invest in upgrades. Energy utilities must prioritize investments and asset hardening in the face of an ever more complex climate, community, and regulatory landscape.

Historically, utilities have prioritized their investments based on engineering-oriented characteristics of existing grid assets or have simply performed repairs on a reactive repair-when-it-breaks basis. But with increasing climate impacts and extreme weather, they now need to understand the extent to which those grid assets are: 1) likely to be stressed to the point of failure by severe climate events and other emerging hazards, and 2) present real risks to service territory communities, especially those that are disadvantaged and vulnerable. Grid Resilience Insights is specifically designed to provide a clear understanding of these two scenarios and of how vulnerability to different hazards and community vulnerability vary over time and across the landscape—all with the most current and relevant data.

Grid Resilience Insights, which we launched this year, aims to make decision-making easier for utilities and energy agencies. Integrating numerous datasets detailing climate threats, infrastructure condition, and community vulnerability levels, our data insight solution pinpoints the risk of natural hazards’ threatening specific assets—say, a substation or transmission tower—and how that will impact disadvantaged or vulnerable communities. With this clear view of risk, utilities are able to take action more rapidly than before to protect those most at-risk in their service area.

Grid Resilience Insights is currently leveraged to assist in protecting a total service population of over 16M community members in California and 600k members in Pennsylvania.

In great company

To compile the list, TIME solicited nominations from TIME’s editors and correspondents around the world, and through an online application process, paying special attention to growing fields—such as the electric vehicle industry, green energy, and the metaverse. TIME then evaluated each contender on a number of key factors, including originality, efficacy, ambition, and impact.

Of the new list, TIME’s editors write: “The result is a list of 200 groundbreaking inventions (and 50 special mention inventions)—including life-mapping artificial intelligence, diamonds made from excess carbon in the air, and the most powerful telescope ever—that are changing how we live, work, play, and think about what’s possible.”

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