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PNS Daily Newscast - November 15, 2018 


Lawyer Michael Avenatti arrested on a domestic violence charge. Also on the Thursday rundown: more testimony on the anti-protest bill; plus we will take you to the Dakotas to celebrate American Education Week.

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Oregon Exploring Ways to Protect Electric Grid on Coast from Catastrophe

Oregon is looking into ways to make its electrical grid more secure in the wake of a potential disaster like the Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake. (USGS/Wikimedia Commons)
Oregon is looking into ways to make its electrical grid more secure in the wake of a potential disaster like the Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake. (USGS/Wikimedia Commons)
January 2, 2017

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon will be getting some help in preparing its energy grid for natural disasters such as the large Cascadia earthquake scientists believe could devastate the Northwest.

The state has been chosen by the National Governors Association for a "policy academy," which will include workshops that provide technical policy and regulatory assistance. Adam Schultz, senior policy analyst at the Oregon Department of Energy, said Oregon has a particular interest in making sure its coastal areas are prepared.

"Wind and ice storms - heavy wind - can knock down power lines,” Schultz said. "And then there’s the big black-swan event, which is the impending Cascadia subduction zone earthquake. We realize there's a significant risk to the coastal areas."

According to Schultz, there are unique risks in those areas, where strips of land are sometimes only a mile wide.

In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, New York became a laboratory for dealing with natural disasters. Schultz said the state is working on the resiliency of its electrical grid, which largely failed after the storm.

One way to secure the electrical grid could be through micro-grids that run on renewable energy. Schultz said communities could create small islands of power that run on the sun or wind.

"If there was a catastrophic event, you can imagine a situation where perhaps the utility, working the local municipalities, could have a micro-grid system with a solar and storage technology that allows it to continue operation locally for, say, a police or fire station or a medical facility or community center,” he said.

The other three states involved in the policy academy are Washington, Rhode Island and Kentucky. Workshops will begin in February and continue for 16 months. For its project, Oregon will be partnering closely with Central Lincoln Peoples Utility District, which serves nearly 40 percent of the state's coast.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR