|HOUSTON, Tx — The City of Houston and CenterPoint Energy today announced the launch of Resilient Now, a first-of-its-kind collaborative framework to develop a regional master energy plan to enhance local power resilience across the greater Houston area.
The collaboration is designed to optimize infrastructure investments and advance new energy solutions to address the challenges of increasingly frequent and disruptive weather events, while building the blueprint for a sustainable future to support increased electric transportation and the use of more renewable energy sources. As part of the master energy plan, the public-private collaboration will develop programs to advance residential weatherization and economic development in vulnerable communities. The initiative will also focus on the training needed to enable a new sustainable energy workforce.
Originally announced at Houston’s State of the City Address, Resilient Now aligns around three core pillars critical to the success of the endeavor: Infrastructure modernization; outcome-based investments; and inclusive and continuous communication.
“CenterPoint Energy is proud to be collaborating with the City of Houston to develop a regional plan to focus on immediate, medium- and long-term reliability solutions that are specific to the needs of individual communities,” said Dave Lesar, President and Chief Executive Officer of CenterPoint Energy.
“My administration set out to make resilience a foundational priority because, as the past six years have shown us, we continue to face increasingly challenging weather events of an unprecedented magnitude,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “We must all work together to address power vulnerability and insecurity across every community in our area. Resilient Now will include additional infrastructure investments to support our community in a manner that helps businesses grow, and even thrive, in our changing environment.”
Lesar added, “Last year’s winter storm and other storms like Hurricane Nicholas demonstrated the effects increasingly disruptive weather can have on our community. Resilient Now will help establish the range of strategic power infrastructure investments that will help advance the greater Houston area as a leader for meeting community power reliability needs and supporting our continued population growth, while also enabling a roadmap to a clean energy future.”
Both the City of Houston and CenterPoint Energy have begun implementing a range of individual and joint actions to strengthen critical infrastructure and protect essential services in neighborhoods. During its most recent session, the Texas Legislature authorized several measures that are allowing Transmission and Distribution Utilities (TDUs), such as CenterPoint Energy, to immediately implement critical actions to lessen both the frequency and impact of power outages. These actions include piloting a year-round volunteer commercial load-shedding program and the procurement of mobile emergency electric generation to aid in more quickly restoring power to distribution customers during certain widespread power outages, which are defined by the legislation.
Meanwhile, the City of Houston has strengthened its own infrastructure to improve resilience at its water plants and other critical facilities, including the acquisition of emergency generators, upgrades to electrical circuits to enable highspeed rollover services, and repairs and winterization at these facilities. The City is also looking toward long-term resilience by exploring and investing in electric vehicle infrastructure, repurposing brownfields for renewable energy resources, and expediting the implementation of both the Houston Climate Action Plan and Resilient Houston to afford immediate benefits to Houston communities.
Resilient Now will guide strategic plans and investments around power resilience over the next 10 years. CenterPoint Energy is working jointly with the City of Houston’s leadership team, including the Airport System, Public Works, the Office of Emergency Management and METRO. They are also working with Harris County and other regional cities and counties to implement the necessary actions and investments to drive successful outcomes.
Mayor Turner added, “As the fourth largest U.S. city, Houston endeavors to be a global leader in innovation and establish a model of resilience for cities everywhere. The City of Houston is committed to this higher purpose and believes making these improvements today will position us to continue our global leadership in energy, space exploration and healthcare innovation.”