Date of Graduation

Spring 5-14-2020

Document Type

Project/Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM)

College/School

College of Arts and Sciences

Department/Program

Environmental Management

First Advisor

Amalia Kokkinaki

Abstract

In the event of a hurricane, electricity is the most important utility as it provides heat, water, food, light, communication, and medical care to communities. Research predicts an increase in frequency and strength of hurricanes with time due to climate change, which requires communities and electric utility companies to be prepared for the inevitable. This paper assesses existing methods of hurricane preparation and restoration of the electric power grid in hurricane prone locations with regards to the electric utility companies and electric distribution systems. In this study, I perform a comparative analysis between different methods of planning and forecasting electrical power outages for a hurricane event. Previous research analyzes single models and methods, where this paper compares the many different models and methods to synthesize the most promising results for electric utility companies to implement. Results from this study indicate that hardening the electrical grid and optimizing the electrical forecast models with more promising variables (Estimated maximum wind speed, duration of high winds, previous outages, and tree densities) and model types (General Additive Models and Bayesian Additive Regression Tree models) will reduce response and recovery time of the electrical grid after a hurricane. This study is important as it will guide electrical utility companies on better methods to prepare and respond to hurricanes to facilitate fewer power outages and quicker recovery times after a hurricane, saving money and lives of affected communities and service areas.

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