What are the damages? New Customer Damage Function Calculator Estimates Costs of Power Grid Outage | New

Free online calculator helps quantify impacts to support resilience investments


Power outages can lead to significant costs: loss of data, reduced worker productivity, spoilage of perishables, suspension of production and sales, interruption of essential services, etc. Understanding these potential costs can help facilities justify smarter investments in resilience.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) researchers are helping federal facility owners and resiliency planners more easily estimate the costs of power grid outages at their sites using the Customer Damage Function Calculator ( CDF), a free, publicly available resource funded by the US Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP).

The CDF Calculator provides a custom breakdown of outage costs incurred by a facility for outages of varying lengths.

The CDF calculator helps to highlight the vulnerabilities of the installations in the event of an outage and to estimate the variation of the costs according to the different durations of power failure. This is the first step in determining the potential avoided costs associated with resilience investments. Users can calculate the monetary benefits of a redundant (standby) system, provide justifications for improving resiliency, and inform decision-making based on the cost of inaction.

Sean Ericson, researcher and financial analyst at NREL, understands the value of resilience. “Policymakers face many challenges and have limited resources to address them,” he said. “Resilience research informs decision-making by highlighting the most important risks to address.”

NREL researcher Nicholas Gilroy sees a dire need for an accessible planning tool like the CDF calculator. “Agencies are looking to the future. At the site level, facilities can face unprecedented downtime. By illustrating costs and impact through the CDF Calculator, agencies can prioritize investments to mitigate risk and improve resilience,” he said. “We have developed a web-based tool that provides a responsive and modern interface to support federal decision makers.

FEMP Director Mary Sotos said, “We look forward to working with other federal agencies to raise awareness of the capabilities of the CDF calculator and help agencies understand how resilience can be valued in planning and implementation. operation of the facilities.

Tool applications

While a variety of potential applications are possible, the CDF Calculator is primarily designed to help federal agencies meet two use cases:

Federal Institution Decision Support: By illustrating cost and impact through the calculator, agencies can generate monetary values ​​to justify investments in mitigation and resiliency solutions that can help prevent or lessen the impact of a network outage. These outage costs can help site or headquarters management defend resilience investments and help contracting officers think through resilience goals in the procurement of distributed energy resource projects – two examples of how the calculator can support federal energy decisions.

Screening tool: The CDF Calculator is the first step in determining the potential avoided costs associated with resilience investments. Once an interruption cost baseline is identified, an organization can turn to REopt® the web-based tool or the Technical Resilience Navigator tool to develop a risk-informed resilience framework for an entire site, campus, or facility, or to map out a specific potential solution, such as a microgrid.

Using the calculator

The CDF Calculator web tool can be used by:

  • Building owners, energy managers and energy consultants looking to understand the cost of impacts associated with a power outage at their site
  • Utilities to understand outage costs at customer sites
  • Insurance industry experts estimate compound costs of breakdowns over time
  • Researchers or procurement specialists studying the economics and benefits of resilience investments.

How it works

Input installation data: Enter the general information and characteristics of the assessed site. Provide details of total and critical electrical loads.

Estimated costs: Estimate the different types of outage costs (i.e. fixed, deterioration, and incremental) incurred by the facility for power outages of different durations.

Review the CDF: The calculator automatically fills in the results allowing the adjustment of durations and frequencies of failures according to the geographical location of the installation.

The screenshot shows a summary of the Customer Damage Function Calculator downtime costs.
The CDF calculator estimates different types of outage costs. Costs are separated into categories of fixed costs (such as damaged equipment), spoilage costs (such as temperature-controlled research), and additional costs (such as emergency fuel or staff productivity).

The CFD Calculator is developed and maintained by NREL with funding and support from FEMP. Use for free, publicly available CDF Calculator to assess and understand the costs associated with an electrical network outage at your site.

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