June 04, 2019

Harris Urges FEMA to Provide Clean Energy Technologies for Disaster Preparedness

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) on Tuesday sent a letter to Acting Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Peter Gaynor urging the agency to make solar microgrids and other clean energy technologies eligible resources under the Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) Program. Such technologies would allow emergency services to have access to power even if the larger electric grid is down, ensuring community safety while providing sustainable solutions.

“I urge FEMA to provide grant funding for microgrids and other clean, distributed energy resources to communities as part of the PDM program funding and to embed those technology options in any additional Hazard Mitigation Assistance Guidance,” Senator Harris wrote. “While natural disasters are increasing in both frequency and magnitude, the U.S. has developed technologies that can mitigate the impact of those disasters and provide additional consumer and community safety.”

A copy of the letter can be found here and below. 

June 4, 2019

The Honorable Peter Gaynor

Acting Administrator

Federal Emergency Management Agency

500 C Street SW

Washington, DC 20472

Dear Acting Administrator Gaynor:

As we enter another wildfire season, I request that clean, distributed technologies such as microgrids be considered as resilient solutions eligible for the Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) Program. California has seen its largest and most destructive wildfires in history in just the last two years. In 2018, California experienced more than 8,000 wildfires that burned more than 1.8 million acres. Natural disasters, from wildfires to hurricanes, can disrupt the grid in a multitude of ways and it is critical that power is restored to essential facilities as soon as possible. To mitigate the risks of high winds and power lines, utilities may proactively cut power to entire communities to prevent fires from starting in those areas. In those cases, public safety facilities, hospitals, and other community services, can be out of electricity for many hours or even days. While back-up diesel generators can provide relief, they are not sustainable solutions to increase community resilience. 

I urge FEMA to provide grant funding for microgrids and other clean, distributed energy resources to communities as part of the PDM program funding and to embed those technology options in any additional Hazard Mitigation Assistance Guidance. While natural disasters are increasing in both frequency and magnitude, the U.S. has developed technologies that can mitigate the impact of those disasters and provide additional consumer and community safety. We should ensure that these innovations are eligible for federal investments meant to increase the resilience and safety of communities across the nation. 

 Thank you for your attention on this matter.

Sincerely,

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