178 – Optimizing Storm Preparedness and Climate Resilience with Steven Quiring of Storm Impact


In this captivating episode of the Insiders Guide to Energy podcast, host Chris Sass engages with Steven Quiring, the Chief Scientist at Storm Impact, to dive deep into the critical aspects of storm preparedness and climate resilience for utility companies. As the frequency and severity of extreme weather events increase, the need for robust, data-driven strategies to mitigate their impact becomes more pressing. This episode offers a comprehensive look at how Storm Impact is at the forefront of this essential work.

Introduction and Guest Welcome:

The episode kicks off with Chris Sass introducing the podcast and welcoming Steven Quiring, who brings a wealth of knowledge from his role at Storm Impact. Steven sets the stage by outlining the mission of Storm Impact, which focuses on helping utilities prepare for and efficiently respond to severe weather events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and winter storms.

Storm Impact Overview:

Steven delves into the core functionalities of Storm Impact, emphasizing their use of advanced machine learning models to predict outages and optimize storm readiness. He explains how these models integrate a plethora of data points, including weather forecasts, soil conditions, vegetation health, and historical grid performance, to provide utilities with actionable insights.

Hurricane Season Insights:

As the conversation progresses, Steven and Chris discuss the current hurricane season, highlighting factors that contribute to its severity. Steven explains the significance of sea surface temperatures and wind shear in storm formation and intensity. He shares predictions from major forecasting agencies and the implications for utilities in hurricane-prone areas.


Utility Preparation and Mutual Aid:

Steven provides an in-depth look at how utilities can prepare for imminent storms, focusing on short-term and long-term strategies. He highlights the role of mutual aid agreements among utilities, which facilitate resource sharing and coordinated storm recovery efforts. Steven details the tools Storm Impact offers to help utilities estimate resource needs, conduct what-if scenarios, and make informed decisions about crew deployments and material allocations.

Long-term Climate Resilience:

The discussion shifts to long-term strategies for enhancing grid resilience in the face of changing climate patterns. Steven talks about various investment options, from hardening infrastructure by replacing wood poles with steel or concrete to deploying microgrids and automated switching systems that can self-heal the grid. He emphasizes the importance of strategic investments and data-driven decision-making in building a climate-smart utility.


Broader Applications and Economic Impact:

Beyond utilities, Steven explores how Storm Impact’s data and models can benefit a wide range of stakeholders, including emergency management agencies, insurance companies, and commercial entities. He discusses the use of predictive data for pre-storm preparations and post-storm recovery efforts. Steven also shares insights into the significant economic benefits of optimized storm response, noting how efficient preparation and resource allocation can save utilities millions of dollars per major storm.

Personal Journey:

Steven shares his personal journey, from his academic background at Texas A&M University and Ohio State University to co-founding Storm Impact. He reflects on the collaborative efforts with various utility companies and the supportive environment at Ohio State that encouraged the commercialization of his research.

Conclusion and Call to Action:

The episode concludes with Steven highlighting the importance of continued innovation and collaboration in storm preparedness and climate resilience. Chris Sass encourages listeners to engage with the podcast by liking, subscribing, and sharing the episode to help bring more industry leaders and their invaluable insights to a wider audience.

This detailed discussion with Steven Quiring provides a thorough understanding of how utilities can leverage advanced technologies and data-driven approaches to enhance their storm preparedness and resilience against climate change. It’s a must-listen for professionals in the energy sector and anyone interested in the intersection of technology and climate resilience.

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